A home destroyed by bushfire as seen on October 21, 2013 in Winmalee, Australia. One man has died and hundreds of properties have been destroyed in bushfires that are devastating the Blue Mountains and Central Coast regions of New South Wales. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
SYDNEY -- Scores of Australians have evacuated their homes in mountains west of Sydney as intensifying winds fanned wildfires that have ravaged the region for days.
The winds were showering communities with embers Wednesday, and all schools were closed in anticipation of worsening fire conditions in the Blue Mountains. The region lost more than 200 homes to blazes last week.
Springwood resident Rae Tebbutt said the atmosphere was tense in the village that was one of the worst-hit last week.
Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says 71 blazes are burning in New South Wales state around Sydney, including 29 burning out of control.