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Bushfire rips through treetops near Sydney

Firefighters run for their lives as fire flares

ORANGEVILLE, Australia - It's like something out of a disaster movie -- a towering inferno shooting upward through tall trees at breakneck speed, spewing flames into the sky.

A firefighter in Australia filmed the shocking moment Thursday as his crew battled a raging bushfire on the doorstep of the country's biggest city -- one of over 100 blazes that is burning across the southeastern state of New South Wales (NSW).

It's called crowning -- when a bushfire moves through the tops of trees or shrubs, burning independently above the ground.

Firefighters from the Sydney suburb of Inglewood ran for their lives as the fire burned out of control in Orangeville, around 45 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of Sydney.

"I am happy to inform you that no one was injured or hurt, our truck survived with no damage," Fire and Rescue NSW 79 Station Ingleburn said on its Facebook page, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.

"The video was put up to demonstrate why you need to listen to the fire advisory system. If your property is not prepared for the bushfire season and you're not sure you are able or capable of defending your property if a fire approaches you need to leave straight away."

Emergency warnings

Australia has been experiencing one of its worst bushfire seasons on record. As of Thursday, there were more than 117 bush and grass fires with more than 60 not yet contained, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

There are seven fires with 'Emergency Warnings' in place in NSW. The 'Emergency Warning' is the highest level of bush fire alert, and the NSW Rural Fire Service advises people to take action immediately.

New South Wales is experiencing the "longest and most widespread" period of air pollution on record as heavy smoke from bushfires surrounding Sydney will result in poor air quality for the city until Saturday, according to CNN affiliate Seven Network.

CNN's Sarah Faidell and Gianluca Mezzofiore contributed to this report.


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