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.
Hundreds of koalas are feared to have burned to death in an out-of-control bushfire on Australia’s east coast, wildlife authorities said on Wednesday. A bushfire believed to have been sparked by a lightning strike on Saturday some 400
UAE's Embassy in London welcomed over 500 friends from the UK, UAE, and internationally to a grand reception at London’s famed Natural History Museum in South Kensington to commemorate 51 years since the founding of the UAE.
"On this day, we commemorate the bright memory of the Founding Fathers, led by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his brothers, the Founders of the Nation, as well as their determination, wisdom and vision that established the Union.”
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the 51st UAE National Day is a day to recall lessons of the past, and look at the present with awareness and contemplation, while looking to the future with hope, optimism and confidence.