"Australia Braces for Potential 'Mega-Wildfire'"

"MOUNT VICTORIA -- Firefighters were battling an enormous blaze in southeastern Australia Monday, with officials warning it could merge with another to create a 'mega-fire' if weather conditions worsen."

"Crews have been fighting fires that flared in high winds and searing heat across the state of New South Wales last week with more than 200 homes destroyed so far and many others damaged.

While dozens of blazes have been contained, 63 were still alight and 17 of them were out of control, enveloping Sydney in a thick white smoke haze that prompted warnings for people to stay indoors and avoid exercise.

The main concern Monday was near the town of Lithgow west of Sydney, where a huge fire -- with a perimeter of 300 kilometres (187 miles) -- has already burned more than 42,000 hectares (103,000 acres) and was threatening the communities of Bilpin, Bell, Clarence and Dargan."

AFP had the story October 21, 2013.

SEE ALSO:

"NSW Bushfires: Firefighters Brace for Wednesday as Forecast Worsens" (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Wildfire Emergency Declared in Australia State as Homes Lost" (Bloomberg)

"Winds, Heat Keep Wildfire Risk High in Australia" (AP)

Source: AFP, 10/21/2013