A resident watches the progress of bushfires near houses in Old Bar, New South Wales, Australia November 9, 2019 [AAP Image/Shane Chalker/via Reuters]

Authorities in Australia’s eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales declared a state of emergency on Monday as the region prepared for “catastrophic” fire conditions.

People in areas deemed at the greatest risk were urged to evacuate before Tuesday when unprecedented hot and windy conditions are forecast. Officials worry the combination of extreme heat and wind will fan fires already burning.

Three people were killed and more than 150 homes were destroyed over the weekend in bushfires in northern New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.

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Officials said the state of emergency – giving firefighters broad powers to control

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