A bushfire rages near the rural town of Canungra in the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland on Friday. Regi Varghese/ Reuters
Strong winds fanned bushfires in two Australian states on Monday, with flames out of control in some areas ravaging thousands of hectares of land, fire services officials said.
The heavy winds also hit flights into Sydney, the country’s busiest airport, where one runway was shut for three hours on Monday morning, Air Services Australia said.
Bushfires have started earlier than normal in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, in the southern hemisphere spring, prompting fire service warnings for the summer, which runs from December through February.
“This early in the season is unprecedented,” said Neil Gallant, deputy commissioner of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, following two years of drought that have left extensive parts of the country parched.
“But if this is what it’s like now, we really are concerned that over the next few months we’re going to get no respite from these sorts of bushfire conditions,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp TV.
As of Monday, five properties had been confirmed destroyed, with five damaged in New South Wales (NSW), while more than 200 homes fires were saved from the flames, the NSW Rural Fire Service said.
The Bureau of Meteorology warned of damaging winds, with peak gusts of about 90 kilometres an hour (56 mph), along the east coast of New South Wales for Monday. The wind was expected to ease on Tuesday.
Winds are being driven by a deep low pressure system over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand and a high pressure system off the south coast in the Great Australian Bight, the bureau said.
Dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Monday morning due to a strike by ground staff at KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France-KLM
A 12-year-old boy started a bushfire and two teenage girls were questioned over another blaze in Australia’s Queensland state, police said on Tuesday as forest fires forced hundreds of people to flee their homes in the country’s east.
Six firefighting aircraft and crews on the ground battled blazes in the Adelaide Hills, where two homes in were damaged or destroyed, state officials said, adding that investigations were underway into the cause.
His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah visited the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) on Monday, where he was given a comprehensive briefing on the services and solutions offered to local and international companies and projects within and outside the UAE.
Conservative media tycoon Rupert Murdoch will tie the knot for the fifth time, at the age of 92 years, he said on Monday in an interview with his own newspaper, the New York Post.
The company said in a statement that it had declared "a state of emergency following an oil spill in the west of the country," noting that "there were no injuries resulting from the leak and that production operations were not affected."
Chinese President Xi Jinping met his "dear friend" Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday, seeking both to deepen economic ties with an ally he sees as a useful counterweight to the West and to promote Beijing's role as a potential peacemaker in Ukraine.