Australian firefighters brace for worst

BY newsdesk  October 22, 2013 at 1:32 PM EDT

As weather conditions worsen, a firefighter works to manage advancing fires in the Blue Mountains in southeastern Australia. Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images

Fire crews in New South Wales, Australia, deliberately merged two massive blazes near the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. It was their latest attempt to better contain the flames ahead of worsening weather conditions. Thousands of firefighters are working around the clock to battle 60 wildfires in the state, including 15 that are still raging out of control. The bushfires are expected to flare Wednesday as strong winds and dangerously hot temperatures return.

The forecast and scenario for tomorrow is about as bad as it gets. On days like tomorrow there is a very real potential for more loss of homes and loss of life.

Shane Fitzsimmons, New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner

So far, one person has died and at least 208 homes have been destroyed. The wildfires have already blackened some 300,000 acres.

H/T Alexis Cox