Australia is once again battling massive fires. Officially, the warmer months are over, but on the country’s east coast, Sydney is the largest city, and it’s still hot. At least 41 major fires are currently raging in the region, fourteen of which are out of control.
The situation reminds Australians that in the summer of 2019-2020, a forest area three times the size of the Netherlands burned. 33 people were killed. The sky was lit up for weeks by the red glow of the great fire. Many had severe respiratory problems.
Sydney and New South Wales, the metropolitan state, are experiencing their worst heat wave in six years this month, with temperatures above 37 degrees and highs above 40 degrees last Sunday. About 30 schools have been closed and residents and staff have been evacuated as the fire rages two hundred kilometers west of Sydney.
No sign of autumn yet
Officially, summer in Australia ends on March 1 and autumn begins, but there’s no sign of that yet. Three years ago the black summer brought extreme temperatures and raging fires, but they started in November and lasted until February. Now that autumn has started, no new natural disaster is expected.
Last year also saw a lot of rain in Australia, especially in and around Sydney. A record millimeter of rain since 1950 was broken, leaving forests and fields no longer bone dry. This helps prevent the spread of fire. However, the state of New South Wales has issued an emergency alert over the current situation.
Flames up to ten meters high
A fire broke out near Tambarura city last Sunday. Soon 2000 hectares were burnt there. Fires move very quickly into densely vegetated areas and are very difficult to fight. Residents of the area have been urged to seek safety as their homes and farms are at risk. Fighting the raging fire is made more difficult by strong winds of around force seven Beaufort, which keep changing direction.
The New South Wales Local Fire Service warned of fires up to 10 meters high. At this time the fire department does not see any possibility of extinguishing or controlling the fire and locking it in a particular area, thus the various fires now have freedom.
Temperatures are expected to rise further. The weather is unlikely to cool off after Wednesday, which could help contain the fire’s spread.
At least 3 billion animals have died or escaped from the Australia bushfires.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that around 3 billion mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs have died or fled in Australia’s massive wildfires late last year and early this year.
Australia grapples with unprecedented severe fire season: ‘Climate change is no longer an abstract concept’
The bushfires in the Sydney region have never been as severe as this year. City life is changing as the state of New South Wales grapples with an unprecedentedly long fire season.
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