Australia in ‘Unchartered Territory’ Amid Bushfire Crisis

Cheryl Sanders
November 9, 2019

He said the fires battled on Friday - at one point fighting 99 fires, a record 17 of which were at emergency level all at once - had them in "uncharted territory", with seasoned firefighters of some 60 years experience saying they had never seen such conditions. It's bad news all around for Australia and how climate change is impacting the country.

As of Saturday night, there were nearly 80 fires burning across NSW with 36 of those uncontained and another four at emergency warning level along the state's north coast.

The annual Australian fire season which peaks during the Southern Hemisphere summer has started early after an unusually warm and dry winter.

Between two and five fires were burning at the highest danger rating during Saturday.

"Today has been a hard and unsafe day".

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian also said seven people were unaccounted for, as firefighters tried to contain dozens of out-of-control blazes that have raged in the state since Friday.

There were still 77 bus or grass fires burning in NSW with 42 uncontained, the fire service said.

Some people were warned to seek shelter from fires rather than flee, as it was now too late to leave.

Local radio stopped normal programming and provided instructions about how to try to survive fires if trapped at home or in a vehicle.

That compares with a total population of 500 to 600 in the reserve, said the group's president, Sue Ashton. "We need to take a serious look at our future". "There are really grave concerns that there could be more losses or indeed more fatalities".

Is this linked to climate change?

Officials also said more than 150 homes have been destroyed.

Images posted to social media show ominous bright orange skies and thick smoke wafting across roads and towns throughout the region.

Authorities said some of the fires were creating their own weather conditions - pyrocumulus clouds that enveloped entire towns.

"These (fire clouds) are extremely unsafe".

He told Nine News multiple blazes raging at the same time on Friday had left firefighters "torn between trying to send help to one fire, to another".

The sun is seen through heavy smoke as a bushfire burns in Woodford NSW, Australia, November 8, 2019.

There should be a brief reprieve in conditions as temperatures cool over the weekend, but temperatures are expected to rise significantly from Monday. But a prolonged drought and low humidity levels will continue to make circumstances combustible.

He said they were dealing with a very dynamic, volatile and unsafe set of circumstances.

Earlier this month, some of the same fires cloaked Sydney in hazardous smoke for days.

The poor air quality prompted health warnings for those with asthma and other respiratory problems.

Swathes of Australia have gone months without adequate rainfall, forcing farmers to truck in water, sell off livestock or leave their land to lie fallow.

Other reports by iNewsToday