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Catastrophic bushfire warning issued for Australia's Northern Territory

Christian Fernsby |
Authorities have warned of catastrophic bushfire conditions in Australia's Northern Territory (NT).

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A total fire ban was declared for vast areas of the NT on Thursday as the region faces its biggest bushfire threat since 2015.

Extreme fire danger warnings have been issued with strong winds exacerbating hot, dry conditions. Several popular tourist and bushwalking sites including iconic national parks have been closed.

Collene Bremner, the executive director of Bushfires NT, said crews have been working for months to create fire breaks but warned that would not be sufficient in severe conditions.

"When a fire starts under these conditions, it will go like the clappers," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

It is the most significant bushfire threat to the NT since the September 2015 fires that destroyed houses on the outskirts of Darwin, the capital city of the NT.

"Certainly, in the scientific side of things and the weather side of things, we're really pushing the boundaries in terms of the historical records," Todd Smith from the Bureau of Meteorology said.

"But just don't let that distract from the fact that it's going to be a really bad fire day (on Friday) and also the day after and even through into Saturday."

Gordon Dando, a resident of Humpty Doo south of Darwin, experienced the fires burning on Tuesday.

"It was just unbelievable, quite frightening actually, the way the flames came up with the wind," he said. "Because of this wind, once the fire gets going, you can't stop it."

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