Forest / Wild Fire in Australia on November 08 2019 11:39 AM (UTC).
A statewide fire emergency declaration has been revoked as bushfire conditions ease, but some fire bans remain in place.As of Saturday morning, the declaration had been lifted across all areas in Queensland, although local fire bans have been re-introduced to many areas."This decision is not made lightly but it is vital we continue to work together and do everything we can to protect Queensland communities during this ongoing bushfire season," Acting Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Mike Wassing said in a statement."Under a local fire ban all open fires are prohibited and all Permits to Light Fire previously issued are cancelled," he said."Residents should make themselves aware of what restrictions are in place for their area by speaking with their local fire wardens and visiting the Rural Fire Service website."Mr Wassing said while "significant" bushfires were still burning in parts of the state, conditions had eased."Now is not the time to be complacent - conditions are still dry and there isn't significant rainfall expected in Queensland in the immediate future," he said.
The Australian state of New South Wales is gasping under the worst levels of air pollution recorded as smoke from widespread bushfires causes a spike in hospital visits and hazards including poor visibility for drivers.Sydney, the country's most populous city, woke up to a thick haze, and blood red sun, for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, even as a cooler change brought some relief for firefighters battling scores of wildfires across the country's southeast.The bushfires have pushed the harbor city into a rare appearance this week in the top ten cities with the worst air pollution in the world. Having reached as high as No. 8, Sydney was sitting at No. 10 on the Air Visual global rankings on Friday morning, above Jakarta and Shenzhen, and just below Mumbai and Kolkata.The crisis has put pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, with critics saying he had not done enough to address the impact of climate change on Australia."The impacts of the ongoing drought and recent bushfires have led to some of the highest levels of air pollutants recorded in New South Wales since air quality monitoring began during the millennium drought," a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said in an email.Workers heading into the city and children going to school donned masks to deal with the hazardous air quality while 55 bush and grass fires still burned across the state after two weeks.The smoke haze brought with it particulate pollution, which can be absorbed into the bloodstream, a danger that the NSW Health Ministry said had resulted in rising numbers of people showing up at hospital emergency departments.
In some areas of NSW and South Australia state, officials were advising motorists to take care while driving because of reduced visibility.Bushfires are not unusual in Australia but the fire season has begun much earlier than usual, with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees C (104°F) well ahead of the start of the southern summer and high winds hitting a landscape that has been parched by three years of drought.Bushfires have already left at least four people dead and destroyed more than 400 homes across two states since the start of November. Fires are still burning in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland states."We have a long way to go," Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said on Australian Broadcasting Corp television.Morrison on Friday again rejected any links between the fires and his conservative government's policies, including support for the coal industry.
"The suggestion that Australia, by having some trade-off where we could have higher emissions reduction targets, which would destroy jobs in regional communities, if we did that, then we wouldn't be having these fires. That is just not true," Morrison told 3AW radio.Morrison's conservative government has committed to the Paris Agreement to reduce its emissions by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2030. Critics point out that current projections suggest it will not meet that target and have called on the government to put in place policies to address the shortfall.
Firefighters battled against hundreds of bushfires across Australia's east coast on Thursday as scores of blazes sprang up in new locations, triggering warnings that it was too late for some residents to evacuate.In Sydney, the country's most populous city, residents were urged to keep children indoors as thick smoke blanketed the city for the third consecutive day, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to address climate change issues.Australia has been battling wildfires across several states for days, endangering thousands of people in many communities. Blazes so far this month have killed at least four people, burnt about 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush and destroyed more than 400 homes.
The early arrival and severity of the fires in the southern hemisphere spring follows three years of drought, which has left bushland tinder-dry and been linked by experts to climate change.Firefighters have followed the crisis across four states as extreme temperatures and high winds sparked wildfires in new areas, even as they struggle contain existing fires.On Thursday, it was Victoria's turn, with dozens of fires burning across the state by early afternoon. Authorities warned locals in towns about 50 km (31.1 miles) north of Ballarat, the state's third largest city, that it was too late for them to evacuate safely."You are in danger, act now to protect yourself," Victoria Country Fire Authority said in an alert. "It is too late to leave. The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately."Authorities had earlier issued a Code Red alert, which indicates the worst possible bushfire conditions, warning people that should a fire start it will be fast moving, unpredictable and likely uncontrollable. It was the first Code Red alert issued by Victoria in 10 years.In New South Wales state, strong winds blew smoke from 60 fires still burning over much of Sydney, leaving the harbor city and its famous landmarks shrouded in thick smog.Officials told parents to keep children inside as pollution recordings showed the smoke at five times the level considered hazardous."They're (children) often more active particularly outdoors so they're more likely to inhale the smoke in large quantities," Richard Broom, director of environmental health at NSW Health said in an emailed statement.State officials also imposed tough new water restrictions on Sydneysiders, to kick in from Dec. 10 when a key dam is expected to be down to 45% capacity. Residents will face fines if they use hoses to water their gardens and wash their cars.
Electricity firms cut off power to thousands of people, more than 100 schools were closed and residents in high risk regions sought shelter today as Australia's devastating bushfires opened up a new front.
Australia has been battling wildfires across several states for days, endangering thousands of people in many communities.Blazes so far this month have killed at least four people, burnt about 2.5 million acres of farmland and bush and destroyed more than 300 homes.
Today, a fresh battle line was drawn as 50 fires sprung up in South Australia state, where officials lifted the fire danger warning to "catastrophic" as temperatures passed 42C.A catastrophic warning means that should a fire start, it will not be possible for firefighters to control it, given the weather conditions."From sunrise until well past midnight, this state is going to experience very difficult fire conditions," Brenton Eden, assistant chief officer at the South Australian Country Fire Service, told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.More than 600 firefighters attended to incidents across the state today and most were expected to keep battling fires throughout the night.As some of fires approached electricity transmission lines, provider SA Power Networks cut power to over 12,000 customers.With strong winds stoking blazes, authorities put residents near four of the fires on high alert to flee in case the flames spread rapidly."This is the worst of the weather from a fire behaviour point that we will have seen," Mr Eden told reporters in Adelaide, the state capital.Australia is prone to bushfires in its dry, hot summers, but the recent series of fierce blazes have been sparked early, in the southern spring, after a three-year drought that has left much of the country tinder-dry.While the immediate threat was in the south today, firefighters continued to battle about 100 fires that have been burning for several days across Australia's east coast.Sydney, the country's most populous city with around five million residents, was covered with thick smoke for the second day running.Health officials yesterday warned people in the harbour city to stay inside as the smoke reached hazardous levels.
Thick smoke from wildfires has shrouded Sydney and its surrounding areas with health experts warning residents with medical conditions to remain indoors.The Sydney skyline was barely visible with air quality in some parts of the city reaching over hazardous levels early Tuesday.Shane Fitzsimmons, the state's rural fire commissioner, says firefighters would be challenged by high temperatures and wind conditions.Most of the coastal areas of the New South Wales are under very high fire danger with 48 fires burning across the state.Fires have destroyed 577 homes in New South Wales during the wildfire season, which peaks during the Southern Hemisphere summer but has started early after an unusually warm and dry winter.
Catastrophic bushfires have killed at least two people and forced thousands from their homes in eastern Australia, with the death toll expected to rise as firefighters struggle toward hard-to-reach communities.In the normally picturesque coastal town of Forster - one among dozens hit along a swathe of the eastern seaboard - vast plumes of smoke shot out from multiple blazes as water bombers swooped in overhead.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that, if needed, the military could be called on to help some 1,300 firefighters who are tackling around 100 separate blazes.Several people are still said to be unaccounted for and 30 more have been injured - mostly firefighters forced to work for hours on end in smokey, hot and smouldering scrubland and blazing forests of towering eucalyptus."Sadly, we have lost two Australians and I fear that we will lose more before the day is out," Morrison said as hundreds of civilians also volunteered to help their hard-hit neighbours.Emergency services said they had found the remains of one person in a car and a woman died despite medics struggling for several hours to save her.As hot and windy weather eased slightly on Saturday, the number of most serious fires fell from an unprecedented 17 on Friday to just three.But across an area spanning almost 1,000 kilometres (600 miles), schools were burned, at least 150 homes were destroyed, while the authorities were forced to evacuate detention centres and old people's homes.Bushfires are common in Australia and a vast corps of firefighters had already been tackling sporadic blazes for months in the lead-up to the southern hemisphere summer.But this was a dramatic start to what scientists predict will be a tough fire season ahead - with climate change and unfavourable weather cycles helping create a tinderbox of strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures.New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that next week's weather forecast "could mean we're not through the worst of it".Morrison, whose government has played down the threat of climate change sought to deflect questions about what impact it may have had."My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families," he said."Australia has been battling ferocious fires for as long as Australia has been a nation, and well before. And we will continue to do so."Firefighters had described the conditions Friday as "difficult" and "dangerous"."Unfortunately, many people have called for help but due to the size and speed of the fires we couldn't get to everyone, even by road or helicopter," New South Wales firefighters said.In some areas, residents were stuck and told to simply "seek shelter as it is too late to leave".Local radio stopped normal programming and provided instructions about how to try to survive fires if trapped at home or in a vehicle.Across the central coast, smoke could be seen billowing high into the sky and residents took to social media to post photos and videos of smoke-laden tangerine skies and flames engulfing storeys-tall eucalyptus within sight of their homes.Authorities said some of the fires were creating their own weather conditions - pyrocumulus clouds that enveloped entire towns.Meanwhile, high winds flung embers and burnt debris far ahead of the fires' front lines, depositing the dangerous detritus on the balconies and front yards of unsuspecting residents.Despite easing conditions, a prolonged drought and low humidity levels will continue to make circumstances combustible.Earlier this month, some of the same fires cloaked Sydney in hazardous smoke for days. On Saturday it was Brisbane's turn, with the fires enveloping the city centre in a veil of acrid fog.Swathes of Australia have gone months without adequate rainfall, forcing farmers to truck in water, sell off livestock or leave their land to lie fallow.Jim McLennan of La Trobe University said the bushfires were "unprecedented", coming so early in the season and in areas that usually have moist soils and vegetation."However, the fire situation is consistent with our new world of bushfire threat associated with climate change".