A FORMER resident of the city now living in Australia has talked about the impact bush fires are having on her community

Worcester News Camera Club member, Ruby Mcgrow, moved to Sydney in 1970, and is an active contributor to the group.

Mrs Mcgrow, 80, said: "We do have very thick smoke here - across the road is a parkland which looks very misty but really smoke and it's so bad.

"People are told not to go out if they have breathing problems.

"Some days the bridge and opera house are almost hidden by smoke."

In New South Wales 381 homes have been destroyed just this week and 18 people have died since the fires began burning.

An Australian magpie has been filmed mimicking the sound of a fire engine's siren as wildfires in the country continue.

The bird was filmed in Newcastle, New South Wales, and has been viewed as a troubling sign of the severity of the fires - which have raged since September.

Gregory Andrews, who filmed the magpie's novel trick on Boxing Day, posted it to Facebook with the caption: "This is one of the coolest things ever.

"Today I met an Australian magpie in Newcastle NSW which had learned to sing the calls of fire-engines and ambulances."

Copacabana Rural Fire Brigade said the magpie seems to have picked up the because "there have been so many emergency vehicles driving through bushfire-affected towns of New South Wales".

Alexander Verbeek of the Institute for Planetary Security in Stockholm suggested the video illustrates the effects of man-made climate change.

"My first tweet in the third decade of the third millennium illustrates best the sad state of our plane," he tweeted.

"An Australian magpie has been hearing so many fire trucks that he has started to copy the sirens. Yes, our house is on fire!"

On Thursday thousands of tourists fled Australia's eastern coast as worsening conditions, fuelled by high temperatures and strong winds, are predicted over the weekend.