SYDNEY, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Over 1,000 firefighters and 70 aircraft tackled a record number of uncontrolled bushfires which raged across the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) on Friday.
As of 4 p.m. local time, there were close to 100 fires burning across the state, 14 of which were given emergency status, seriously threatening lives and property.
"A number of fires in the north coast and northern NSW areas are becoming more intense -- and more dangerous," the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said on social media.
"Some are creating their own weather conditions and pyrocumulous clouds are developing. These are extremely dangerous. Do not be caught in the open."
While most of the blazes were several hundreds of kilometres north of state capital city, Sydney, one fire, much closer in the Blue Mountains to the west of the city was also declared an emergency.
Firefighters battled hot and dry winds, with drought conditions contributing to the amount of fuel available for the fires to consume.
Major highways were closed and residents told that in some cases it was safer to stay and seek shelter than to try to escape.