Australia's NSW braces for catastrophic fire conditions

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Firefighters in the Australian state of New South Wales were bracing for 'catastrophic' fire conditions on Saturday as temperatures well above 40C (104F) and strong winds were set to fuel more than 100 fires burning across the state.

Reuters December 21, 2019 05:11:57 IST
Australia's NSW braces for catastrophic fire conditions

Australias NSW braces for catastrophic fire conditions

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Firefighters in the Australian state of New South Wales were bracing for "catastrophic" fire conditions on Saturday as temperatures well above 40C (104F) and strong winds were set to fuel more than 100 fires burning across the state.

Authorities asked people to delay travel, at the start of what is normally a busy Christmas holiday period, warning of the unpredictability of the fires as winds of up to 70 kph (44 mph) were set to fan flames through the middle of the day.

"Catastrophic fire conditions are as bad as it gets," NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told journalists.

"They are the very worst of conditions. Given we have a landscape with so much active fire burning, you have a recipe for very serious concern and a very dangerous day."

Greater Sydney and two surrounding areas were rated as catastrophic for Saturday, and other areas were at extreme or very-high fire danger ratings.

Close to 10,000 emergency personnel would be working across NSW on Saturday, which the NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said was likely the largest emergency deployment the state had ever seen.

"They're there, four days before Christmas, to keep families safe," Elliott told media.

A southerly wind change is expected late on Saturday afternoon. It is forecast to bring winds of up to 90 kph (56 mph), which Fitzsimmons said would initially worsen fire conditions before leading to a dramatic drop in temperatures.

The Gospers Mountain mega fire, which has already burned almost 450,000 hectares (1.1 million acres) to the northwest of Sydney was upgraded to emergency status early on Saturday.

The death of two firefighters on Thursday night when their fire truck was struck by a falling tree as it travelled through the front line of a fire brought the wildfires death toll in New South Wales to eight since the start of October.

Shortly after the two deaths were announced, Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement saying he would return as soon as possible from a family holiday in Hawaii, a trip that had drawn sharp criticism as the wildfires crisis deepened.

Australia has been fighting wildfires across three states for weeks, with blazes destroying more than 700 homes and nearly 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of bushland.

(Reporting by John Mair in Sydney and Will Ziebell in Melbourne; Editing by Sandra Maler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Moderna raises 2021 vaccine output forecast to at least 600 million doses
World

Moderna raises 2021 vaccine output forecast to at least 600 million doses

(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast, as the United States continues to roll-out the vaccine. The company was working to invest and hire in order to deliver up to 1 billion doses this year, the higher end of its production forecast, it said

On thin ice? Poles get creative to skate round coronavirus rules
World

On thin ice? Poles get creative to skate round coronavirus rules

WARSAW (Reuters) - A skating rink owner in the Polish city of Szczecin believes he has found a way to keep his business open despite coronavirus restrictions - operate as a flower shop instead. His plan is simple - the customer has to purchase access to the flower "warehouse", then chooses from a box of flowers in the middle of the rink. "You can jump, crawl or go on all fours ..

Yemeni boy, ravaged by hunger, weighs 7 kg
World

Yemeni boy, ravaged by hunger, weighs 7 kg

By Reuters Staff SANAA (Reuters) - Paralysed and severely malnourished, seven-year-old Faid Samim lies curled up on a hospital bed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, having barely survived the journey there.  "He was almost gone when he arrived but thank God we were able to do what was necessary and he started improving. He is suffering from CP (cerebral palsy) and severe malnutrition," said Rageh Mohammed, the supervising doctor of the Al-Sabeen hospital's malnutrition ward.