Instead of blasting artificial snow, the guns at the Perisher and Threbdo ski resorts on Australia’s Snowy Mountains have been deployed to douse dry slopes with ice-cold water in the hope of stopping ember attacks.

“We are utilizing resort infrastructure including snowmaking to support fire authorities,” the Perisher Ski Resort told Reuters on Friday, explaining that employees have been preparing the facility for “worse fire conditions.”

Alpine sites have removed trees and other vegetation, as well as using sprinklers to keep the ground wet in a bid to avoid the fate of the Selwyn Snow Resort, just 50km (31 miles) from Threbdo, which was burnt down several days ago.

Meanwhile, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) warned that two large fires have merged into a ‘mega-fire,’ burning more than 250,000 hectares of land combined. The fires are “just kilometers” away from a third blaze raging in the Snowy Mountains and the Kosciuszko National Park, the authorities said.

Earlier reports indicated that the merger of devastating fires in New South Wales and the neighboring Victoria State could create a gigantic 600,000-hectare blaze.

More than 3,300 firefighters have been deployed against the fire in New South Wales but the situation remains dangerous due to “really erratic fire behavior,” the local RFS spokesperson said on Friday. The state’s RFS community safety officer Marty Webster said that hot and windy weather conditions in the area were “likely to deteriorate.”

The fire alert, issued by the authorities, has prompted Estonia and Hungary to close their embassies in the nation’s capital, Canberra, and redirect their services to consulates in Sydney and Melbourne, the Financial Times reported. Italy and Ireland did the same earlier this week, while Israel warned that diplomatic services at the embassy will be delayed.

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