Thursday, 11 August 2022 – 16:08

Australia increases evacuation calls as fires worsen

Australia has begun its largest ever peacetime evacuation as more hot weather and strong winds are set to worsen already devastating bushfires.

Over 200 fires are already burning with more predicted as more hot weather is thought to be on the way. Tens of thousands have been told to evacuate away from the fires and the country’s navy and fire services have today assisted hundreds in evacuating from isolated towns, including the fire-hit town of Mallacoota on the Victoria coast. Some have been evacuated by air or by sea.

On Saturday, temperatures are expected to soar well above 40C in parts of south-east Australia, and it is feared that strong winds could increase the danger of fires spreading.

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned residents and tourists, “If you don’t need to be in the area, you need to leave.”

Fires began in Australia back in September. In that time, at least 20 people have been killed and many have been left unaccounted for. Fires have destroyed over 1,300 homes and millions of acres of bushland.

According to meteorologists, a climate system in the Indian Ocean is the main driver of the extreme heat in Australia. Many parts of the country have been experiencing drought conditions for several years now, which has made it easier for fires to start and spread.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been criticised for his response to the fires, with many citizens angry over the speed and spread of resources to fire-hit areas. On Thursday, Mr Morrison called for calm before visiting Cobargo, a town devastated by fires.

 

Photo Credit: Gary Danvers Collection via Flickr under licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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