Environment: Bush fires hit Sydney

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The Independent Online
Bush fires fanned by hot winds raging in the Menai area of Sydney yesterday where they destroyed 30 homes. Two firefighters died in Lithgow, 100km north-west of Sydney, as 5,000 battled some 400 fires across New South Wales.

However, crews were last night offered some respite by rain, cooler temperatures and lighter winds. Officials said more than 200 fires were still burning but no houses were at risk and some Sydney home owners who had been evacuated were allowed home.

The largest fire, burning on a 155-km front near Coonabarabran in the far north of New South Wales state, was still out of control after destroying an estimated 250,000 hectares (625,000 acres) of bushland.