A woman looks at what is left of her burnt house

Bushfires in Australia’s New South Wales could merge to form a massive blaze, the fire commissioner said, as teams continued to fight fires across the state.

Three fires near Lithgow, a city by the Blue Mountains, are thought to be at risk of merging into one fire front.

NSW has been badly hit by bushfires after the hottest September on record. It has declared a state of emergency.

Officials say conditions are likely to worsen this week, reports the BBC.

NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said that the fire at State Mine in Lithgow was at risk of merging with the fire at Mount Victoria.

“Modelling indicates that there’s every likelihood under the forecast weather conditions that these two fires, particularly up in the back end of the mountains will merge at some point… there is every likelihood that these two fires will join up,” he said.

He added that in a “worst-case scenario” the fire could merge with a third fire at Springwood but said: “With the continued success of the fire-fighting effort, let’s hope that it doesn’t extend all that far eastward.”

In a briefing on Monday morning, Mr Fitzsimmons said that 58 blazes were still burning, with 14 out of control.

NSW declared a state of emergency on Sunday, allowing emergency services to order mandatory evacuations, and cut gas and power supplies if needed.

“While it may cause distress, I would rather be apologising for inconvenience than dealing with devastation and despair,” Fitzsimmons said.

Caroline Russell from Winmalee, in the Blue Mountains area, told the BBC that she had seen the fire move closer and closer to her home over the past few days.

“We were quite worried initially. What we thought was back burning seemed to get out of control. That’s when we saw the water bombers come over,” she said.

“The fire brigade say we’re in no immediate danger at the moment but we should keep a watch on the situation. We’re constantly monitoring it.”

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