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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
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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
    Thailand Expat 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
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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
    Thailand Expat 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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    let me explain simply 100MB != 1GB RAM

  13. #13
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    The situation in Australia is going from bad to worse.

    When I was growing up in Oz, 30c was a hot day. 35c was really hot, and was very rare.

    These days, 40+ and even 50c days have become the norm in Summer.

    These bushfires are the future in Australia.

    They have been going on for months, with no end in sight.

    Welcome to the future.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    One of the msm had a map showing Oz fires in real time, I didn't realise there are around 200 of them right across the country.

  15. #15
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    I've been reading the NSWfires twitter feed. All too often there are absolutely chilling notices that say things like this:

    EMERGENCY WARNING - Hyland Rd, Greystanes (Cumberland LGA) A bush fire in Greystanes is spreading quickly in northerly direction. If you are in east of Prospect Reservoir, south of M4, & north of train line in Pemulwuy you are at risk. It is too late to leave.

    Seriously?? It is too late to leave! Imagine just having to trust to luck and the fire fighters to not be burned alive!

  16. #16
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    Half a billion animals perish in bushfires

    A staggering 500 million animals are believed to have died in bushfires since September, sparking fears entire species have been lost.


    There are real concerns entire species of plants and animals have been wiped out by bushfires following revelations almost 500 million animals have died since the crisis began.
    Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been lost since September.
    That figure is likely to soar following the devastating fires which have ripped through Victoria and the NSW South Coast over the past couple of days, leaving several people dead or unaccounted for, razing scores of homes and leaving thousands stranded.

    https://www.news.com.au/technology/science/animals/half-a-billion-animals-perish-in-bushfires/news-story/b316adb4f3af7b1c8464cf186ab9f52c

    Last edited by Wally Dorian Raffles; 01-01-2020 at 03:57 PM.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    The situation in Australia is going from bad to worse.

    When I was growing up in Oz, 30c was a hot day. 35c was really hot, and was very rare.

    These days, 40+ and even 50c days have become the norm in Summer.

    These bushfires are the future in Australia.

    They have been going on for months, with no end in sight.

    Welcome to the future.
    Sorry Wally, that's nonsense. 50+ is not the norm, it happens rarely.

    Aussie summers have always been hot.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Couple of things about the current catastrophic conditions that face south east Australia ATM.


    • For an extended period that area has been in drought, meaning there is very little soil moisture.
    • The lack of pre-emptive burning, either real or perceived have left a lot of fuel on the bush/forest floor. Some people put that down to the Green Movement ... as you can't do a controlled burn as that releases carbon and Global Warming and all that.
    • The current heat-wave conditions. In the last week/s Australia recorded it's hottest day ever, well in excess of 50C across the country. Air humidity, in many parts are below 15% ... Extraordinary.





    • The ferocious winds which are blowing and fanning the fire. It's the wind which one of the worst. You can create physical fires breaks in the Bush, but with the wind it's the ember attack which create new fires, often kilometers ahead of the fire front. The burning material from the main fire is picked up by the wind and eventually falls to the ground and potentially starting a new fire. People describe it like 'raining fire'


    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

  20. #20
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    Wally Dorian Raffles's Avatar
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    I was listening to scientists on the radio yesterday who were saying that climate change is without doubt a reason for the fires. Years of droughts, rivers gone dry, hotter days are all contributing factors, which are also related to climate change.
    Last edited by Wally Dorian Raffles; 03-01-2020 at 08:26 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    Sorry Wally, that's nonsense. 50+ is not the norm, it happens rarely.

    Aussie summers have always been hot.
    I meant to say that 40c has become the norm (which happens a lot more now than years gone by) - and we also even have 50c days - which were unheard of 30 odd years ago.

    Yes, Aussie summers have always been hot, but they are hotter and dryer now.

    I really hope you are not one to have your head in the sand here KW.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    I was listening to scientists on the radio yesterday who were saying that climate change is without doubt a reason for the fires. Years of droughts, rivers gone dry, hotter days are all contributing factors, which are also related to climate change.
    Wally, I'm not so quick to push that boat out.

    Climate change happens over 100's, if not thousands of years.

    There is a whole climate change thread to debate the in's and out's and I don't want to drag that here.

    Aussies, Kiwis can do naught to affect climate change. CHINA, then India and the USA ... the major carbon produces have the most effect.

    That said, I drive an LPG car, solar panels, 1 TV, grow some of our veges (less food miles) etc
    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    Are those habits and lifestyle influenced by your environment and situation, or your bit toward saving the planet?

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabir View Post
    Are those habits and lifestyle influenced by your environment and situation, or your bit toward saving the planet?
    Money!

    LPG is cheaper. But that car is going because it's become a money pit. Always fixing something on it.
    Replaced with an economical 4cly station wagon.

    Solar Power saves me electricity bills.

    I even have an electric lawn mower ... no fuel.

    About the Garden ... I want to teach the kids that veges are grown and not bought in a shop etc.
    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    The situation in Australia is going from bad to worse.

    When I was growing up in Oz, 30c was a hot day. 35c was really hot, and was very rare.

    These days, 40+ and even 50c days have become the norm in Summer.

    These bushfires are the future in Australia.

    They have been going on for months, with no end in sight.

    Welcome to the future.
    Australia has suffered bushfires for a few years now
    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    let me explain simply 100MB != 1GB RAM

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