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State braces for 'catastrophic' conditions

"CATASTROPHIC" fire warnings were in place on Monday night for much of NSW where emergency services were battling more than 90 blazes and bracing for record temperatures across the state.

From midnight, every region was subject to the bans but the NSW Rural Fire Service warned the Southern Ranges and Illawarra regions, where record rains had prodocuded fuel, were most at risk.

A large grass fire near Wagga Wagga remained out of control while fire-fighters managed to contain about 80% of others.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell told reporters on Monday the state was possibly about to experience the worst fire danger it had ever faced.

He said Tuesday was not going to be "just another ordinary day" and urged families to have their bushfire activation plans in place.

A number of small fires in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland also remained under control.

In Tasmania, two fires were still burning after a week of devastation where hundreds of buildings and properties were destroyed on the state's eastern peninula.

Police began the grim task of searching more than 300 properties for bodies on the weekend.

The death toll remained at zero on Monday night but Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard warned a number of people remained unaccounted for.

Hundreds remain displaced and many of those who have been allowed to return to their towns have found homes in ruins and livestock lost.

The Federal Government has promised $1000 aid packages to victims.

The Tasmanian fires are not being treated as suspicous.

Topics:  barry o'farrell fire rural fire service


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