Home Malta Winds Two people dead and 150 homes destroyed in Australian bushfires

Two people dead and 150 homes destroyed in Australian bushfires

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Two people
have died, five are missing and at least 150 homes have been destroyed as
bushfires rage across eastern Australia, authorities said on Saturday.

The New
South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) confirmed two people had been killed
by a fire near Glen Innes, more than 550 km (340 miles) north of Sydney.

One body was
discovered in a vehicle and a woman died after being found suffering from burns
on Friday.

Five other
people remain unaccounted for on Saturday afternoon, with Prime Minister Scott
Morrison saying he feared the number of deaths could rise.

“These fires
have already claimed two lives … and as we get access to further areas that
have been cut off we are expecting worse news again,” Morrison said during a
televised news conference in Sydney on Saturday.

Morrison
said reserve members of Australia’s armed forces may be used to assist
emergency services and that support payments were being made available for
those directly affected by fires.

This is one
of Australia’s worst bushfire seasons and it is occurring even before the start
of the Southern Hemisphere summer, with parts of the country already crippled
by severe drought.

NSW RFS
Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said little reprieve in fire conditions could be
expected over the next week or throughout the summer months of December,
January and February.

“The
forecast for the balance of the season continues to be driven by above-normal
temperatures (and) below-average rainfall to dominate over the coming months,”
Fitzsimmons said.

On Friday,
state fire authorities issued a record number of emergency warnings, with 17
fires declared to be at an emergency level with high winds and dry-conditions
fanning the flames.

There were
81 fires burning across the state on Saturday afternoon, 36 of them
uncontained, with an emergency warning on four of them.

Further
north, in Queensland, thousands of residents near the resort town of Noosa, on
the Sunshine Coast, spent the night in evacuation centres.

Queensland
Premier Anastasia Paluszek said authorities were still accessing if it was safe
for nearly 2,000 people to return home.

“These fires
can change very quickly, it is very dry at the moment and the winds will pick
up this afternoon,” Paluszek told reporters.

Meanwhile in Western Australia, one fire was declared at an emergency level on Saturday afternoon and authorities warned of high fire risk throughout the state, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.

source: Reuters

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