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Bushfires may have killed up to 350 koalas near Port Macquarie, NSW

As many as 350 koalas are estimated to have died in fires that tore through the Port Macquarie region.

Firefighters are still battling up to 64 bushfires across NSW including the north coast where three people have died and at least 150 homes were destroyed over the past three days.

The blaze devastated the Lake Innes Nature Reserve, which was home to a colony of up to 600 koalas.

“We think most of the animals were incinerated — it’s like a cremation,” Koala Conservation Australia president Sue Ashton told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“They have been burnt to ashes in the trees.”

Rescuers reportedly managed to find 16 injured koalas, which were taken to Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital for treatment over the weekend.

Photos show koalas with burnt feet and hands, as well as burns and singeing to the body.

It’s hoped that more koalas will be found in the coming days and the organisation is encouraging people to take injure wildlife to the hospital.

A fundraising page for the koalas impacted by the fires, notes that the group of koalas found in the region are one of the most genetically diverse groups in Australia.

It suggested that people could help surviving koalas and other wildlife by providing access to water to reduce further deaths from dehydration.

Further hot winds and temperatures in the 30s are forecast for Monday in the major fire zones in the Clarence Valley and mid-north coast including Port Macquarie and Glen Innes.

The worst could still be to come, with a “catastrophic” fire danger declared for the Sydney and Hunter regions on Tuesday.

Forty schools have been closed on Monday after a total state fire ban was declared for Monday and Tuesday.

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