Australian bushfires wipe out half of koala colony, threaten more

08 Novembre, 2019, 17:20 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Flames from an out of control bushfire are seen from a nearby residential area in Harrington some 335 kilometres northeast of Sydney

"There's 370,000 hectares of fire right now burning in New South Wales, which is more than the entire area burnt in 2018".

Fitzsimmons said the fire service has received reports that several communities have been impacted by the blazes, including reports of injuries to residents and damage to buildings.

In some areas, residents were stuck and told to simply "seek shelter as it is too late to leave".

"A number of fires in the north coast and northern NSW areas are becoming more intense - and more risky", the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said on social media. "If you are near these fires, your life is at risk and you need to take action to protect your life", NSW Rural Fire service said.

There were 15 blazes at the highest threat level on Friday evening, with more than 1,000 firefighters are fighting the blazes.

"To have 17 fires concurrently burning at emergency alert level is without precedent in the state of New South Wales", NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told members of the press.

The map issued by the fire service shows the locations of the devastating blazes.

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The fires - many in drought-affected areas - were being exacerbated by gusty winds and up to 35C heat. At least five schools have closed due to the fires.

Firefighters in northern NSW are also preparing for an upsurge in adverse conditions on Friday, when temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius are expected in the city of Brisbane, whereas in Western Australia, temperatures are forecast to exceed 40 degrees in places such as Perth.

Queensland and New South Wales are prone to wildfires in spring and early summer.

Experts estimated the bushfires have wiped out about half the koalas living on a coastal reserve in New South Wales.

Koala Conservation Australia estimates around 350 koalas living on the reserve in the north coast town of Port Macquarie have died in the bushfires.

Australia's east is being ravaged by a record number of intense bushfires in a dramatic start to the country's fire season, with scientists warning of worse to come.

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