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NSW swelters in record heat as firefighters battle blazes

Inland New South Wales sweltered through record-breaking March temperatures on Sunday as fires burned across the state.

While inner Sydney remained relatively cool – the mercury peaked at 28.9C, thanks to a sea breeze – the state’s western districts scorched, with temperatures above 42C in Bourke, Cobar and Brewarrina.

Wagga Wagga recorded its hottest March temperatures yet on Sunday, hitting 39.9C, breaking the previous record of 39.5C set on 7 March 1983. Records in the area go back 80 years.

Temperatures hit between 0.5 and 1.5 degrees higher than previous March records in Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and many other locations on and west of the ranges.

Sunday’s highest temperature in the state was 43.8C recorded at Wilcannia airport in the north-west.

The Bureau of Meteorology said Penrith, in Sydney’s west, which had been forecast to reach 40C, got to 38.7C at 3.48pm.

Campbelltown and Camden reached 39C, with Badgerys Creek the only Sydney suburb to officially pass 40C, hitting 40.2C at 3.28pm. Richmond and Bankstown reached 38C.

The Riverina also experienced extreme heat, with Griffith and Yanco both reaching 41C.

In its latest forecast on Sunday afternoon, the bureau said cooler conditions could be expected after the run of record March heat.

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“Sunday was a day of record temperatures and elevated fire danger,” the bureau’s Dean Narramore said. “A trough will move into South Australia on Monday with light showers on southern parts, spreading into Victoria and NSW at night.”

Firefighters across NSW and Victoria remain on alert as strong winds are still forecast on Sunday afternoon, with at least 30 fires still burning in NSW.

A fire at Craigs Road in Curraweela, in the southern tablelands, was being controlled but had burned through 3,689 hectares, destroying property and livestock.

Victoria’s Country Fire Authority said a bushfire at Lorne, east of Erskine Falls Road, was now at an advice level.

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