State of emergency declared for Sydney due to 'the most dangerous bushfire Australia has ever seen'
Three people have already been killed in the still-blazing fires.
Mass evacuation warnings have been put in place in parts of Australia as bushfires rage in New South Wales.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared a seven-day state of emergency for the region, stating that "Everybody has to be on alert no matter where you are and everybody has to be assume the worst and we cannot allow complacency to creep in."
The Greater Sydney Area has been placed under a "catastrophic fire danger" warning, along with Illawara, Shoalhaven, and Greater Hunter regions.
Premier Berejiklian told local news outlets that "Our state has already been hit by some of the most devastating bushfires we have ever seen, with three lives lost and more than 150 structures destroyed. With catastrophic weather conditions predicted for this week, particularly Tuesday with hot weather and strong winds, I have decided to take the Commissioner's advice and make this declaration."
Sydney, as Australia's most populated city, is home to nearly five million people, and is surrounded by large areas of bushland, which are highly likely to be added to the incoming bushfire due to the lack of rain in the region in recent months, combined with the high temperatures and high winds.
The fires are believed to also have caused some major catastrophes for the local wildlife, with as many as 350 koala bears in a nature reserve in the area feared dead.
Additionally, the Educational Department announced that as many as 500 schools would be closed, with the NSW Rural Fire Service stating that "Under these conditions, some fires may start and spread so quickly there is little time for a warning, so do not wait and see.
"There are simply not enough fire trucks for every house. If you call for help, you may not get it. Do not expect a firetruck. Do not expect a knock on the door. Do not expect a phone call."