Dozens of fires are blazing in New South Wales following a week of record-shattering heat across parts of Australia.
Sydneysiders are waking up to a cooler environment on Monday after sweltering through two consecutive days of scorching pre-summer heat.
Parts of Sydney – including the city – broke the 40 degree barrier for a second straight day on Sunday.
Meanwhile, swathes of western NSW, South Australia and northern Victoria baked through even higher Saturday temperatures approaching 45 degrees.
Total fire bans remain in place on Monday in NSW’s Northern Slopes and North Western districts.
RFS crews battled 62 bush and grass fires across the state on Sunday including a blaze in the western Sydney suburb of Northmead which damaged a home.
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said the service was deploying “overwhelming force” to attack every major blaze.
“It’s a very different season,” he said.
“What we haven’t had for the last few years is grass because we have been in a drought so there’s been no grass to obviously grow or burn. That’s changed significantly.
“These grass fires are quite dangerous.”
The mercury pushed past 40 degrees in many Sydney suburbs, including Penrith, Canterbury, Bankstown and Holsworthy.
On Sunday, Observatory Hill in central Sydney recorded an overnight minimum of 25.3 degrees, shattering the November record of 24.8 degrees set in 1967.
Temperatures across the Hunter to the state’s north were also well in excess of 40 degrees, hitting 41.9 degrees at Cessnock Airport.
A gusty southerly arrived late on Sunday afternoon, quickly dropping temperatures by more than 10C in some areas as it moved north.
An overnight minimum of 18 degrees was forecast for the city, about 7 degrees cooler than Observatory Hill’s record minimum of 25.3 degrees on Saturday.
The change is expected to bring cooler temperatures for Monday before the heat returns to NSW from Tuesday.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott warned against complacency when it came to bushfire safety.
“Here we go again. We have of course seen the first weekend of really significant bushfire activity,” Mr Elliott said.
“I want to make sure the message is very, very clear. What we are seeing this weekend is pretty consistent with what we will potentially see over the course of this fire season.
“We cannot fall into a false sense of security. The community out there, unfortunately, thinks after the last season we are not at risk of bushfire.
“The reality is 90 per cent of the state is still untouched by bushfire.”
Higher temperatures in other states
Temperatures in parts of northern Victoria reached 18 degrees above the November average.
The highest temperature recorded in Victoria on Saturday was 45.7 degrees in Mildura, which exceeded its previous November record by 0.2 degrees.
A slew of November heat records were also broken in Walpeup (45.2 degrees), Rutherglen (42.6 degrees), Albury airport (41.8 degrees) and Omeo (34.8C).
Other parts of South Australia and Queensland had it worse.
On Saturday, Marree reached 47.5 degrees, while Roxby Downs hit 47.4 degrees and Birdsville got 46.4 degrees.
Southeast and southern Queensland are also likely to experience elevated temperatures from Monday, with no respite until at least Thursday.