A firefighter on property protection watches the progress of bushfires in Old Bar, New South Wales, Australia. File photo/ Reuters
Australia braced on Friday for strong winds that could whip up bushfires in two states over the weekend and add to a toll of more than 270 homes destroyed and 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of land ravaged during the past week.
The country’s weather bureau warned that winds and lightning strikes increase the threat to communities across two states on the country’s east coast, which have been ravaged by fire since last Friday.
“A fresh burst of hot, dry westerly winds will result in severe fire dangers in the Darling Downs and Granite Belt,” the Bureau of Meteorology flagged for the border region between the states of Queensland and New South Wales.
It added that thunderstorms were possible over the northern part of that region, “bringing the risk of lightning as an ignition source for new fires.”
In New South Wales, 259 homes have been destroyed over the past week and 59 bush or grass fires are still burning, but none are rated at the “catastrophic” warning level triggered earlier in the week, the state’s Rural Fire Service said.
In Queensland, where 16 homes have been destroyed since Nov. 7, 59 fires are still burning.
The bushfire season has begun earlier than usual, in the southern hemisphere spring, and is expected to be long and brutal this year as a three-year drought has left broad swathes of Australia’s east and west more susceptible to fire.
Looking to avert fatigue among firefighters, Western Australia has sent teams out to relieve tired crews on the east coast, and New Zealand has also sent up reinforcements.
“We’re doing what we can for our fellow Aussies while still maintaining resources on the home front, which have been much needed in the past few days,” the Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services said on social media.
A state of emergency was declared on Monday and residents in the Sydney area were warned of “catastrophic” fire danger as Australia girded for a fresh wave of deadly bushfires that have ravaged the drought-stricken
Australians on Wednesday began sifting through the ashes of hundreds of bushfires that have ravaged the country, relieved that their worst fears were unrealised — but wary of a long and brutal summer ahead.
Locals in Lucindale, a community of around 550 people some 260 kilometres (162 miles) south east of Adelaide, were warned by the Country Fire Service (CFS) after the fire cut off roads they could use to evacuate.
The competent authorities were called to the crime scene and the body was examined and found to belong to an Asian man in his sixties identified as (K.G.K).
The step is aimed at reducing crowding and random parking of vehicles on the roads where traffic accidents occur and prevent traffic jams in accident sites, they said.
The 63-year-old, who considers himself "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order", will formally launch his campaign with a video, speech and townhall event in the early voting state of Iowa on Wednesday.