'Leave Immediately': Bushfire approaches township in Australia's Fraser Island
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian authorities on Monday asked residents of a coastal township in the world heritage listed Fraser Island to 'leave immediately' after a massive bushfire burning there since mid-October was expected to reach the township early morning. The blaze has already destroyed half the island off Australia's northeastern coast, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef and famous for its tropical rainforest on sand dunes, and inland lakes.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian authorities on Monday asked residents of a coastal township in the world heritage listed Fraser Island to "leave immediately" after a massive bushfire burning there since mid-October was expected to reach the township early morning.
The blaze has already destroyed half the island off Australia's northeastern coast, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef and famous for its tropical rainforest on sand dunes, and inland lakes.
"A large fire is traveling in a southeasterly direction towards Happy Valley township on Fraser Island. It is expected to impact Happy Valley township around 7 am," Queensland state Fire and Emergency Services said in a statement issued Monday early morning.
"Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing."
Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost and road conditions may become very dangerous over the next several hours, authorities said.
Anyone near the township in the world's largest sand island, also known by its indigenous name K'gari, have been asked to move to the beaches or head south.
An intense heatwave sweltered Australia's southeast and northeast in recent days with temperatures reaching well above 40 degree Celsius (104 degree Fahrenheit) in several places.
This has also raised the risk of bushfires with total fire bans enforced in several regions amid the first major heatwave of the fire season, which usually runs from late southern hemisphere spring through summer.
Last summer's bush fires razed more than 11 million hectares (37 million acres) of bushland, killing 33 people and billions of native animals, a disaster that Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Australia's "black summer".
(Reporting by Renju Jose; editing by Diane Craft)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.