Australia bushfires: Firefighters battle 'monster' inferno

Two fires on the border of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria have merged into what Australian media has dubbed a "monster inferno".

NSW fire crews are battling the monster blaze on Australia's Snowy Mountains.

Strong winds of 90km/h rapidly spread the wildfire, and more than 3500 firefighters were deployed throughout the night, Rural Fire Service spokesperson Anthony Bradstreet told 7 News.

Residents in both states were told to leave their home.

"What we're really seeing with a number of these fires merging is a number of small fires started by lightning strikes, across the landscape, and as they grow, we see fires merging," another Rural Fire Service spokesperson, Anthony Clark, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It provides a challenge for firefighters as when they merge, it increases the size and opens up more uncontained perimeter."

But despite the monster inferno, experts believe the fire season has barely begun.

"The past few hundred years, every single major fire in Australia has happened in the first week of February," said Monash University senior research fellow Paul Read.

Fire crews have all but given up winning the fight in the forests, focused instead of saving lives and protecting assets.

The state of disaster gives police the unprecedented power to arrest those who refuse to leave their properties, as the danger remains ever-present.

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