Tourists, firefighters flee as new heatwave fans Australia blazes

Tourists, firefighters flee as new heatwave fans Australia blazes
Tourists, firefighters flee as new heatwave fans Australia blazes

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Tourists, firefighters flee as new heatwave fans Australia blazes in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - SYDNEY - Tourists and firefighters were forced to flee vast fires burning in southeastern Australia on Monday, as a heatwave rekindled devastating bush blazes across the country.

Authorities said "quite a number" of the 30,000 tourists visiting the usually picturesque southeast tip of the continent had heeded calls to evacuate.

More than a dozen blazes are raging in the East Gippsland countryside, some so intensely that hundreds of firefighters were pulled back beyond a firefront estimated to stretch 1,000 kilometers.

It was deemed "unsafe" for them to remain in bushland areas, Gippsland fire incident controller Ben Rankin said.

It is the latest emergency in Australia's devastating summer fire season, which has been turbocharged by a prolonged drought and climate change.

Ten people have been killed, more than 1,000 homes destroyed and more than three million hectares -- an area bigger than Belgium -- have been scorched.

Conditions worsened on Friday with high winds and temperatures soaring across the country -- reaching 47 degrees Celsius (116 Fahrenheit) in Western Australia, but topping 40 degrees in every region -- including the usually temperate island of Tasmania.

The situation was "very intense" said Rankin, warning that conditions would worsen later in the day before temperatures drop markedly overnight.

Authorities had warned tourists enjoying Australia's summer holidays in East Gippsland that the fires would cut off the last major road still open.

Victoria Emergency Management commissioner Andrew Crisp said residents and holidaymakers still in the area faced being stranded as it was now "too late to leave", with his agency warning it was "not possible" to provide aid to all visitors in the area.

Neighboring South Australia is also experiencing "catastrophic" fire conditions.

The Country Fire Service's Brenton Eden said it would be a "very dangerous" day for people in the state, with "dry" thunderstorms -- which produce thunder and lightning but no rain -- already sparking a number of fires including an emergency-level blaze on Kangaroo Island. -AFP


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