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Australia battles bushfires, prepares for 'catastrophic' conditions

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Australia battles bushfires, prepares for 'catastrophic' conditions

By Will Ziebell

 

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A fire rages on in Rainbow Flat, New South Wales, Australia, November 8, 2019, in this still image taken from social media video. @ ethanborlephotography/via REUTERS

 

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian firefighters raced on Sunday to contain widespread bushfires that have left three people dead, and warned of "catastrophic" fire conditions ahead, including around the country's biggest city of Sydney.

 

Authorities upgraded the forecast for the greater Sydney region to catastrophic fire danger on Tuesday, the first time the city has been rated at that level since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

 

"High temperatures, strong winds and low humidity are forecast, making conditions dangerous," the New South Wales state Rural Fire Service said in a statement.

 

Conditions on Tuesday in the greater Hunter region north of Sydney were also rated as catastrophic, the highest level of bushfire danger, while extreme or severe conditions were predicted for other parts of the state.

 

"If a fire starts and takes hold during catastrophic fire danger conditions, lives and homes will be at risk," the statement said.

 

Australia is suffering one of its worst bushfire seasons, which is occurring even before the start of the Southern Hemisphere summer, with parts of the country crippled by severe drought.

 

Three people have died in New South Wales since Friday, when a record number of emergency-level fires were declared in the state, and at least 150 homes have been destroyed.

 

Five people were listed by authorities as missing on Saturday afternoon, but local media said Sunday they had now been accounted for.

 

By Sunday afternoon, about half of the more than 70 fires burning in New South Wales were still not under control, with two burning at an emergency level.

Education authorities said more than 40 schools in New South Wales would be shut on Monday due to the fires.

 

Further north in Queensland, more than 50 fires were burning on Sunday, with emergency warnings in place for two fires.

 

Thousands of residents in Queensland have been evacuated and authorities warned severe fire danger was expected on Wednesday, with little reprieve this year.

 

"There is really no rainfall, no significant rainfall, until at least the end of the year and possibly into the new year," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services acting commissioner Mike Wassing told a news conference on Sunday.

 

(Reporting by Will Ziebell; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Pullin)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-11-11
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The scale and ferocity of these fires is mind boggling.  This was taken from a commercial flight over the northern NSW coast:

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A 2,300km long smoke cloud can clearly be seen from space, crossing the Tasman heading towards NZ:

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Absolutely tragic events unfolded at Old Bar, Torrington, Tingha, Glen Innes & Noosa's nth shore as well as many other locations in NSW & QLD.

 

Our thoughts & prayers go out to families who have lost everything and to those who lost their lives trying to save their property.

 

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* * NSW - declared a State Of Emergency

Winds gusting at 40-50kms and tomorrow expected to increase up to 80kms per hr. 

The Australian Army has been called up to help fight the fires.

Another 400 firefighters from Victoria are being flown in to assist.

Some 500 fire trucks and 1400 firefighters are involved.

Conditions are the worst in decades and NSW has been declared a State of Emergency.

image.png.7eda8cf97730ab115a512b0a4eead3f8.png

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scenes like this poor gent …. he returned to nothing,  just ash,  everything gone.

image.png.5743649ef4d6535efcd638ea20ce79c0.png

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* * NSW - declared a State Of Emergency

Winds gusting at 40-50kms and tomorrow expected to increase up to 80kms per hr. 

The Australian Army has been called up to help fight the fires. Helicopters will be used to evacuate people.

Another 400 firefighters from Victoria are being flown in to assist.

Some 700+ fire trucks and 2500 firefighters are involved.

Conditions are the worst in decades and NSW has been declared a State of Emergency

image.png.7eda8cf97730ab115a512b0a4eead3f8.png

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  I'm living on the NSW coast halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and it has been smoky for several days . I've haven't at any stage felt in danger . Some areas have obviously been devastated . It has been a tragedy  for some people . 

         I wish people wouldn't exaggerate . " NSW has a state of catastrophy " . ( for tomorrow ) .Only the coastal strip from Newcastle to Woolongong is affected . Not the other 90% of the state .  " Australia battles catastrophic conditions " , Again only the east coast from Forster to Noosa so far . Not the rest of this vast country . My relatives in Melbourne are receiving messages from worried friends in other countries due to these generalized headlines . 

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20 minutes ago, gimo said:

  I'm living on the NSW coast halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and it has been smoky for several days . I've haven't at any stage felt in danger . Some areas have obviously been devastated . It has been a tragedy  for some people . 

         I wish people wouldn't exaggerate . " NSW has a state of catastrophy " . ( for tomorrow ) .Only the coastal strip from Newcastle to Woolongong is affected . Not the other 90% of the state .  " Australia battles catastrophic conditions " , Again only the east coast from Forster to Noosa so far . Not the rest of this vast country . My relatives in Melbourne are receiving messages from worried friends in other countries due to these generalized headlines . 

Well that's the young media of today .... bad wording and exaggeration. However,  the fires are tragedy for those affected and those who have lost family and property. .

The fires are in pocketed locations throughout NSW and QLD and I expect relatives and friends overseas would like to know they are safe.

At no time did anyone mention Melbourne so I don't know why folks would be contacting your relatives there.

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22 minutes ago, steven100 said:

Well that's the young media of today .... bad wording and exaggeration. However,  the fires are tragedy for those affected and those who have lost family and property. .

The fires are in pocketed locations throughout NSW and QLD and I expect relatives and friends overseas would like to know they are safe.

At no time did anyone mention Melbourne so I don't know why folks would be contacting your relatives there.

One of the headlines starts with 'Australia battles catastrophic conditions' without mentioning specific places. Other stories not quoted on TVisa are similar to this . 

Edited by gimo
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I live in one of the fire emergency affected areas, Tewantin, QLD. Had a coffee this AM with a local volunteer crew fire chief. Said one house burnt, another slightly damaged. Outstanding job by volunteer, airborne water bombers and government fire staff. He mentioned there hasn't been vegetation burn off to reduce risk, by National Parks, for ten years in some areas due to political interference.

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46 minutes ago, simple1 said:

I live in one of the fire emergency affected areas, Tewantin, QLD. Had a coffee this AM with a local volunteer crew fire chief. Said one house burnt, another slightly damaged. Outstanding job by volunteer, airborne water bombers and government fire staff. He mentioned there hasn't been vegetation burn off to reduce risk, by National Parks, for ten years in some areas due to political interference.

agree ….  the greenies have blood on their hands because of this, farmers are sick & tired of rules and regulations on land clearing and burn offs. 

Tewantin is good, I have a brother at Boreen point. 

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54 minutes ago, steven100 said:

agree ….  the greenies have blood on their hands because of this, farmers are sick & tired of rules and regulations on land clearing and burn offs. 

Tewantin is good, I have a brother at Boreen point. 

Couldn't agree more . Same in NSW .

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