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Scores of bushfires burn out of control in Australia

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: At least seven emergency warnings have been issued for fires burning out of control in New South Wales (NSW) on Thursday (October 17), the state's Rural Fire Service (RFS) said. More than 60 bushfires were reported in the Australian state including around 20 that are classified as out of control, the RFS website said. The RFS said several homes were destroyed and more under threat from blazes in the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney, in Lithgow further west and at Balmoral village near Wollongong, 85 km (53 miles) south of Sydney. An RFS spokesman told local media that warm winds of up to 80 kilometres an hour were making already hot and dry conditions even worse. Smoke from the blaze has forced the closure of Newcastle Airport local media reported. Some waterbombing operations have been hampered by the high winds, grounding fire-fighting aircraft, an RFS spokesman told local media.

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