Quantcast
Latest Stories

Australia bushfires rage in ‘catastrophic’ conditions

By

SYDNEY, Australia—Bushfires raged across Australia’s most populous state Tuesday, fanned by intense heat and high winds in “catastrophic” conditions that have put thousands of firefighters on high alert.

Authorities have warned that New South Wales state faces one of the highest-risk fire days in its history, with temperatures rapidly climbing towards 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

“We’ve got 100 fires on the books, we are now dealing with just over 20 fires that remain uncontained,” New South Wales Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney.

The greatest risk is in the Shoalhaven, Illawarra and southern ranges south of Sydney, with Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash saying the area was a “tinderbox.”

Gash told national television that local residents were “preparing for the worst but hoping for the best” with winds expected to pick up later Tuesday as the temperature soared.

Near Brogo, in the Bega Valley in the state’s south, authorities said an uncontained blaze was posing a threat to homes and that residents were urged to evacuate.

A total fire ban is in place throughout the state, while all national parks are closed, with temperatures forecast to peak at 45 degrees, and Sydney set to swelter in 43-degree heat.

Fitzsimmons said forecasts of hot, windy conditions were proving to be correct.

“It is going to be a long hot day for firefighters, it is going to be a long hot day for communities,” he said, adding that Sydney itself would likely bake at more than 30 degrees until after midnight.

Earlier he said the state was “shaping up for one of the worst fire danger days on record.”

“You don’t get conditions worse than this, we are at the catastrophic level and clearly in those areas leaving early is your safest option,” he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she was being briefed continuously and urged caution.

“The word catastrophic is being used for good reason,” she said. “So it is very important that people keep themselves safe, that they listen to local authorities and local warnings.

“This is a very dangerous day.”

Introduced after the 2009 Black Saturday firestorm in Victoria state, which claimed 173 lives, a “catastrophic” rating means fires will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast-moving, with evacuation the only safe option.

There were also extreme conditions in Victoria Tuesday, with one fire at Kentbruck in the state’s southwest doubling in size overnight with about 500 firefighters and 10 aircraft battling to stop it threatening rural communities.

Wildfires destroyed more than 100 homes on Tasmania over the weekend, and around 40 blazes were still burning across the southern island state on Tuesday, according to local reports.

A handful were out of control and Tasmanian Fire Service station officer Phil Douglas said authorities were ready for possible evacuations.

“It’s something we are mindful of, that it may happen, so we’re prepared for it,” Douglas told reporters.

No deaths have been reported so far from the fires that are a regular occurrence in vast but sparsely populated and arid Australia, particularly in the hot summer months between December and February.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More Philippine Weather News

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Australia , Fire , Weather




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’–report
  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Sports

  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement