Three people are dead and more are missing after wildfires erupted on the southeastern coast of Australia, according to the New South Wales Police, fueled by more than two years of drought that has impacted nearly all of the region. "We need more action, we've got to stop this!"
"I would call on all our employers, particularly our volunteers whether they're in the Rural Fire Service, the emergency services or indeed our retained firefighters that rely on the generosity of their employers to give them time away from work", he said.
Forecasts for the coming days show high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity, the fire service said Sunday, raising the fire danger for the greater Sydney area to a "catastrophic" rating - the highest level of bushfire danger, the fire service said.
"Up on the north coast, where we've simply got a lot of fires burning at the moment, those fires have got a real potential to run and impact on lives and properties on Tuesday".
In Victoria, a total fire ban has been issued in Mallee in the state's north-west, with conditions expected to be severe on Monday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned Australia to expect more bad news from the fire zones.
"They came into an area and found someone badly burnt", Mr Fitzsimmons said.
But Fitzsimmons warned people to brace themselves for more trouble, with hot and windy conditions expected to return Tuesday, making firefighting hard.
A third body was found on Saturday afternoon in a burned building at Johns River, north of Taree, a police statement said. Climate change is affecting all parts of the globe, and it appears to be the culprit for Australia's early fire season this year.
At that time, preliminary reports suggested more than 100 homes had been lost, Fitzsimmons said. At least one house was lost, a firefighter suffered a broken leg and 6,000 residents were evacuated from three communities in the state's southeast. "It's going to be horrific, I think".
More than 70 fires were burning across NSW on Saturday - five at "emergency warning levels" - a day after an "unprecedented" bushfire emergency devastated parts of the state's north.
Fires would be extremely hard to control if they spark in parts of regional WA, where the mercury is forecast to climb to about 40C. "We got the best fire fighters in the world and our job as federal and state governments is to support them with the science and the tools to be able to fight fires and keep us all safe".
"Where we thought we had koalas, we now think they've been incinerated", Sue Ashton, president of the koala hospital, told CNN affiliate Nine News Australia on Friday. "Many of these fires won't be contained ahead of tomorrow's risky fire weather", the Rural Fire Service tweeted.
"We have seen the gravity of the situation unfold..."