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NSW braces for heatwave as fires rage on

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Several parts of NSW face very high fire danger today and tomorrow, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has warned, as crews try to contain dozens of blazes in the state.

At least 683 residential properties have been confirmed destroyed by the bushfires, according to the RFS.

“There is a very high fire danger forecast for a number of areas in NSW today,” it tweeted this morning. “Fire dangers are set to increase tomorrow with hot, dry and windy conditions forecast.”

A live map on the RFS website shows dozens of fires are still burning including several north of the Blue Mountains National Park.

In an update today, the Bureau of Meteorology forecast “heatwave-like conditions” will hit the NSW inland areas over the next few days.

The Insurance Council of Australia says claims from the NSW and Queensland bushfire catastrophe have increased to 2000 since the last update on November 22, when insurers reported they had received 1525 claims.

Insured losses up to today have been estimated at about $165 million, little changed from the November 22 estimate.

A council spokesman says insurers are awaiting more accurate information on the number and estimated cost of losses, which is not unusual in bushfire situations where access to affected areas is often delayed.