More than 100 fires burning in Australia, forcing travel delays during busy holiday season

Temperatures above 40C (104F) and strong winds created “catastrophic” conditions on Saturday for firefighters battling more than 100 fires burning across New South Wales in Australia, while in South Australia one person was found dead in a fire zone.

Some roads outside Sydney were closed and authorities asked people to delay travel, at the start of what is normally a busy Christmas holiday period, warning of the unpredictability of the fires as winds of up to 70 kph (44 mph) were set to fan the flames.


READ MORE:
BC Wildfire Service sends 6 more firefighters to help with deadly Australian blazes

“Catastrophic fire conditions are as bad as it gets,” NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told journalists.

“They are the very worst of conditions. Given we have a landscape with so much active fire burning, you have a recipe for very serious concern and a very dangerous day.”

Greater Sydney and two surrounding areas were rated as catastrophic for Saturday, and other areas were at extreme or very-high fire danger ratings.

Close to 10,000 emergency personnel would be working across NSW on Saturday. The state’s Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott described it as probably the largest emergency deployment ever seen in NSW.

image0:45
Woman gives water to thirsty Koala as Australia endures record heatwave

Woman gives water to thirsty Koala as Australia endures record heatwave

“They’re there, four days before Christmas, to keep families safe,” Elliott told media.

A southerly wind change is expected late on Saturday afternoon. It is forecast to bring winds of up to 90 kph (56 mph), which Fitzsimmons said would initially worsen fire conditions before leading to a dramatic drop in temperatures.


READ MORE:
Roads are melting during hottest heatwave in Australian history

The death of two firefighters on Thursday night when their fire truck was struck by a falling tree as it traveled through the front line of a fire brought the wildfires death toll in New South Wales to eight since the start of October.

Shortly after the two deaths were announced, Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement saying he would return as soon as possible from a family holiday in Hawaii, a trip that had drawn sharp criticism as the wildfires crisis deepened.

image2:47
Man successfully cooks pork roast in car during Australian heatwave

Man successfully cooks pork roast in car during Australian heatwave

SOUTH AUSTRALIA, VICTORIA FIRES

In South Australia, authorities said one person had been found dead, another was critically injured and 15 homes had been destroyed by a fire in the Adelaide Hills, just 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the state capital of Adelaide.

The death followed another fatality in South Australia on Friday, the result of a car crash in an area where an emergency fire warning was in place.


READ MORE:
Australian PM cancels vacation after 2 firefighters die battling wildfires

Authorities said 23 firefighters suffered injuries on Friday as the parts of the state endured catastrophic fire conditions.

In the state of Victoria, 15 blazes were burning out of control on Saturday morning, with an emergency warning placed on two in the state’s east.

Australia has been fighting wildfires across a number of states for weeks, with blazes destroying more than 700 homes and nearly 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of bushland.

image0:43
‘Crowning’ bushfire rips through treetops in Australia as blazes continue across country

‘Crowning’ bushfire rips through treetops in Australia as blazes continue across country


(C) 2019 Reuters

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*