Sydney, March 6 (IANS) Hot, windy and mostly dry weather conditions over the eastern and northern parts of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) have led to rising fire dangers from Monday through Wednesday.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said that as of 6.30 p.m. on Monday, there were 38 bush and grass fires, reports Xinhua news agency.

Total fire bans are now in place for multiple regions across NSW, with three bushfires and one grass fire still yet to be contained, including two at emergency warning levels.

Firefighters and aircraft are working in difficult conditions in the state’s central west, where numerous fires are burning, said NSW RFS.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), maximum temperatures are forecast to spike six to 12 degrees centigrade above average across eastern parts of NSW.

The eastern parts of the state are also likely to see dry thunderstorms on Monday, with the potential for lightning to spark new fires due to a lack of rainfall, while northeast NSW may be affected by severe thunderstorms with damaging winds in the next two days.

“These conditions are being driven by hot and dry continental west-north-westerly winds, bringing the high temperatures to eastern NSW including Sydney,” said the BOM.

“It is not unusual to experience heatwaves during early autumn as the weather transitions from the warmer months of summer to the cold of winter.”

The weather bureau is reminding residents that some hot weather can still occur even though the heatwave is likely to peak on Tuesday before easing throughout NSW on Wednesday and Thursday.

Last week, the BOM issued its long-range forecast for autumn, indicating that La Nina is likely near its end in the Pacific Ocean, and much of Australia is likely to be drier and warmer than usual.