Sydney faces wall of fire

Sydney faces wall of fire
Local residents watch the containment fires from the balcony on his house at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains on October 22, 2013.

With the lingering smell of smoke in the air and dark clouds in the distance, most residents of Sydney are all too aware of the closeness of the bushfires that surround the city.

"Fires are common in Australia. We're concerned but we're not panicking yet," Mr Raj Singh, a Singaporean who has been living with his family in Sydney for almost four years, told The New Paper. Mr Singh, 45, said he has become increasingly concerned, with the fires getting closer, as they are reported to be among the worst in decades.

The engineer lives near the Parramatta suburb, which is less than a two-hour drive to the Blue Mountains, where two of the three massive fires have merged.

The third fire is in Springwood, 70km west of Sydney.

The fires started last Wednesday and the authorities are now worried that the two major fires will merge and reach Sydney, Australia's most densely populated city.

"I can actually feel the heat waves from the fires. It feels like you're in an oven," said another Singaporean living in Sydney, Mrs Amanda Ng.

Like Mr Singh, she is worried for the people living in the Blue Mountains, where the fires are at their worst and the fire-front is almost 350km long.

Despite the bleak circumstances, Mrs Ng, 48, a mother of two, is touched by the sense of community. She had heard on the news that there were people who went all the way from Canberra, which is around 260km away, to help fight the fire in the Blue Mountains.

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