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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Australia bushfires leave three dead, at least 150 homes lost

    Bobin (Australia) (AFP) - Catastrophic bushfires in eastern Australia have killed at least three people and forced thousands from their homes, with the death toll expected to rise as firefighters struggle towards hard-to-reach communities.


    In the normally picturesque coastal town of Forster -- one among dozens hit along the eastern seaboard -- vast plumes of smoke shot out from multiple blazes as water bombers swooped in overhead.


    And in Bobin, around 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Forster, the whole town was scorched with some fires soaring 10 metres (30 feet) along the tree canopy.


    Some homes were completely burned to the ground in the small rural town, and in one just a fireplace could be seen among the smouldering rubble.


    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 unaccounted for and 30 more have been injured -- mostly firefighters working for hours on end in smoky, smouldering scrubland and blazing forests of towering eucalyptus.


    "My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families," Morrison said, as hundreds of civilians also volunteered to help their hard-hit neighbours.

    A body was found in a burnt-out building near the east-coast town of Taree, police said, while another victim was found in a car and a woman died despite medics trying for several hours to save her.


    As hot and windy weather eased slightly on Saturday, the number of most serious fires fell to just a handful from an unprecedented 17 on Friday.


    But within an area spanning almost 1,000 kilometres (600 miles), schools were burned and at least 150 homes were destroyed, while authorities were forced to evacuate detention centres and old people's homes.


    It was a narrow escape for Don Russell, with the fire coming within meters of his home in Taree.


    "They've done a top job, them fellas," Russell told AFP after a crew of six firefighters brought the blaze under control.


    His next-door neighbours were not so lucky, however -- their home went up in flames Saturday afternoon. No one was home.


    "It used to be God's country, but it ain't any more," said another neighbour, 72-year-old Dave Scott.


    New South Wales's rural fire service said an emergency warning was in place for four fires among the dozens raging across the state.



    - Tinderbox -


    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 -- with climate change and weather cycles contributing to the dangerous combination of strong winds, high temperatures and dry conditions.


    "We're experiencing tinderbox-like conditions across much of the state and all it takes is one spark to start a fire that may burn for days," said Queensland's acting fire commissioner Mike Wassing.

    Meanwhile, 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.

    "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," he said.


    - 'Too late to leave' -


    Firefighters had described the conditions Friday as "difficult" and "dangerous". 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 billowed high into the sky and residents posted images online of tangerine skies and storeys-high trees ablaze.


    Authorities said some of the fires were creating their own weather conditions -- pyrocumulus clouds that enveloped entire towns.


    Despite easing conditions, a prolonged drought and high aridity 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".

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...lderly-couple/

  2. #2
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    It's wiped out half of a Koala colony as well.

    Hundreds dead, poor little buggers.

  3. #3
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    Latindancer's Avatar
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    I'm breathing in the smoke as we speak....

  4. #4
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    ^Yes me too.

    I love a Sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains.
    But I’ve gotta tell ya mate, I like it better when it rains.
    The countryside is dying and there’s just no end in site, and just to rub salt in the wounds, the bush has caught alight.
    The landscape is on fire from Brisbane to the Gong
    And everybody’s asking “where the hell did we go wrong?
    But we can get through this one if we help each other out, take care of your neighbour , that’s what Aussies are about.
    The rain is going to fall again , the good times will return. But living in Australia means at times it’s going to burn.
    So if you need a helping hand, just give a mate a call. We’re all hear to help you out and catch you when you fall.
    The RFS, the SES, the firey’s, and police, all put their lives upon the line to help to keep the peace.
    So hats off to these hero’s and thanks for all you do
    And I hope when this is over we can make it up to you!

    Troy Gerdes.

  5. #5
    On a walkabout
    Loy Toy's Avatar
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    Seems that every year these bush-fires ravage the east coast of Australia and the west coast of the USA.

    It is particularly dry in Oz at the moment as well which isn't going to help.

  6. #6
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    it is only the start of summer , there is much more to come

  7. #7
    Member TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
    ^Yes me too.

    I love a Sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains.
    But I’ve gotta tell ya mate, I like it better when it rains.
    The countryside is dying and there’s just no end in site, and just to rub salt in the wounds, the bush has caught alight.
    The landscape is on fire from Brisbane to the Gong
    And everybody’s asking “where the hell did we go wrong?
    But we can get through this one if we help each other out, take care of your neighbour , that’s what Aussies are about.
    The rain is going to fall again , the good times will return. But living in Australia means at times it’s going to burn.
    So if you need a helping hand, just give a mate a call. We’re all hear to help you out and catch you when you fall.
    The RFS, the SES, the firey’s, and police, all put their lives upon the line to help to keep the peace.
    So hats off to these hero’s and thanks for all you do
    And I hope when this is over we can make it up to you!

    Troy Gerdes.
    easier to read

  8. #8
    IV
    Wally Dorian Raffles's Avatar
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    And our prime minister is a climate change denier ..

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    'Leave now': Australians urged to evacuate as 'catastrophic' fires loom

    SYDNEY (Reuters) - Authorities declared a state of emergency across a broad swath of Australia’s east coast on Monday, urging residents in high risk areas to evacuate ahead of looming “catastrophic” fire conditions.

    Bushfires burning across New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland states have already killed three people and destroyed more than 150 homes. Officials expect adverse heat and wind conditions to peak at unprecedented levels on Tuesday.


    Bushfires are a common and deadly threat in Australia’s hot, dry summers but the current severe outbreak, well before the summer peak, has caught many by surprise.


    “Everybody has to be on alert no matter where you are and everybody has to be assume the worst and we cannot allow complacency to creep in,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.


    The country’s most populous city has been designated at “catastrophic fire danger” for Tuesday, when temperatures as high as 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) are forecast to combine with powerful winds for potentially deadly conditions. It is the first time Sydney has been rated at that level since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

    Home to more than 5 million people, Sydney is ringed by large areas of bushland, much of which remains tinder dry following little rain across the country’s east coast in recent months.


    “Tomorrow is about protecting life, protecting property and ensuring everybody is safe as possible,” Berejiklian said.





    Lawmakers said the statewide state of emergency - giving firefighters broad powers to control government resources, force evacuations, close roads and shut down utilities - would remain in place for seven days.


    On Monday afternoon, the fire service authorised use of the Standard Emergency Warning Signal, an alarm and verbal warning that will be played on radio and television stations every hour.


    NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons urged people to evacuate before conditions worsened, warning that new fires can begin up to 20km (12 miles) ahead of established fires.

    “Relocate while things are calm without the pressure or anxiety of fires bearing down the back door,” he said.


    Authorities stressed that even fireproofed homes will not be able to withstand catastrophic conditions, which Fitzsimmons described as “when lives are lost, it’s where people die”.


    More than 100 schools will be closed on Tuesday.


    On Monday afternoon, rescue services were moving large animals from high risk areas, while health officials warned that air quality across NSW will worsen as winds blow smoke from the current mid-north coast bushfires south.


    The fires have already had a devastating impact on Australia’s wildlife, with about 350 koalas feared dead in a major habitat.


    CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE

    Australia’s worst bushfires on record destroyed thousands of homes in Victoria in February 2009, killing 173 people and injuring 414 on a day the media dubbed “Black Saturday”.


    The current fires, however, come weeks ahead of the southern hemisphere summer, sharpening attention on the policies of Australia’s conservative government to address climate change.


    Environmental activists and opposition lawmakers have used the fires to call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a supporter of the coal industry, to strengthen the country’s emissions targets.

    Morrison declined to answer questions about whether the fires were linked to climate change when he visited fire-hit areas in the north of NSW over the weekend.


    Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on Monday accused climate activists of politicising a tragedy at the expense of people in the danger zones.


    “What we are doing is taking real and meaningful action to reduce global emissions without shutting down all our industries,” McCormack told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.


    “They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time, when they’re trying to save their homes.”



    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-a...ource=facebook

  10. #10
    Member TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    And our prime minister is a climate change denier ..
    Australia has hot summers, Australia has bushfires every season.

    The big change in the last decade is that removal of dry fuel no longer happens. Of course, you will end up catastrophic days if you have a decade or more dry fuel build up. That does not mean climate change is at cause.

  11. #11
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    Do they built in Australia majority of family housing in similar style like in USA (wooden skeleton clad by chipboards from both sides)? That could explain somehow the disasters...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klondyke View Post
    Do they built in Australia majority of family housing in similar style like in USA (wooden skeleton clad by chipboards from both sides)? That could explain somehow the disasters...
    Depends on locality and age.

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