TODAY   |  October 22, 2013

No relief in sight from relentless Australia wildfires

Strong winds threaten to fan the relentless fires this week in Australia as residents have been given until midday Wednesday to leave, and firefighters spark controlled fires as their “last line of defense.” NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> again. conditions are threatening to set back firefighters battling in australia. ian is there with the latest. good morning.

>> it's actually started to rain here in the blue mountains but not nearly enough to effect the fires. we have been warned of extreme fire conditions. strong winds expected to fan a wildfire that already blanketed sydney in smoke and could threaten the suburbs.

>> reporter: firefighters went on the offensive starting their own fires in the effort to stop the progress of a blaze covering an area of forest the size of sydney. this has been burned as a last line of defense providing a bufferer against the wildfire.

>> officials describing extreme temperature and winds forecast for wednesday is about as bad as it gets.

>> i have been fighting fires for 33 years and this is the most challenging scenario i ever faced.

>> reporter: among those on the front line , tim parsely trying to block the fire's progress through a blue valley .

>> if we can make a difference, we will.

>> reporter: he's an engineer that usually works on satellites but the fight against the fire has become personal.

>> my sister losing my house made it more difficult this time around. we're trying to manage the family issue as well.

>> reporter: the fire could threaten the western suburb ifs it sweeps down from the mountains. residents have been told they have until midday wednesday to safely leave which many are reluctant to do.

>> it's your home. you want to stay here and protect it, i guess.

>> reporter: though it may be hard to protect against what's already the worst fire disaster in this region in four decades.

>> if the forecasts are right, wednesday will see soaring temperatures and winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour. perfect conditions for a wildfire, natalie.

>> ian williams in australia, thank you.