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AUSTRALIA is predicted to have its hottest day on record on Tuesday, creating catastrophic fire conditions in NSW.

‘‘[It] is not just going to be in the 40s. It will perhaps be the worst fire danger the state has ever faced,’’ NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said on Monday..

A total statewide fire ban was imposed last night and Mr O’Farrell pleaded with residents to be completely prepared.

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More than 100 fires were burning around Australia yesterday, with 90 blazing in NSW.

The fire of most concern for the state was near Wagga, where a grassfire was out of control.

In Tasmania, a massive blaze that has burned through 10,600hectares since Friday remained out of control last night.

National parks and camping grounds in NSW will be closed and nursing homes and vulnerable people in badly affected areas will be evacuated.

The bushfire risk for most of NSW – including Sydney, the ACT and the central west – is rated as extreme.

Temperatures are predicted to top 40 in the Hunter, with the region’s bushfire risk rated as severe.

In some towns in the far west the temperature is predicted to hit 45 degrees.

Experts have described a huge “dome of heat” over Australia that has broken national temperature records and set the scene for dangerous fire conditions for days across large parts of the country.

Australia is likely to have posted a record average maximum yesterday, beating the previous high of 40.17 degrees on December 21, 1976, said Karl Braganza, manager of climate monitoring at the weather bureau. He said while such records were  ‘‘hard to break” and the bureau was yet to complete its analysis of the numbers, the previous high would probably be exceeded today.

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