Australian firefighters battle widespread blazes amid threat of worsening conditions

10 Novembre, 2019, 14:03 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Firefighters have worked through the night battling the bushfire emergency

The NSW Police reported Saturday morning that a third person was confirmed dead after their body was found in a burnt-out building north of Taree, about 215 miles north of the capital of Sydney. Police said identity and cause of death could not be determined at the time, but said that the home belonged to a 63-year-old woman.

Firefighters found another body Saturday morning in a burned vehicle near Glenn Innes - a victim of the same fire that killed Chaplain.

Firefighters discovered another woman in the same blaze who was treated for burns before being transferred to hospital where she later died.

Her daughter-in-law Chrystal Harwood identified the victim as 69-year-old grandmother Vivian Chaplain, who was alone in her house in the small community of Wytaliba when it was engulfed in flames.

"Where we thought we had koalas, we now think they have been incinerated", Sue Ashton, president of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, told a local news outlet.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons on Friday said there were preliminary reports of minor injuries to both firefighters and members of the general public.

On Friday evening, a State of Fire Emergency for Queensland residents was declared: "It is now too late to leave the area".

Emotions were running high at an evacuation centre in Taree, with one man breaking down in tears as he was embraced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

While they aren't trained firefighters they could help create firebreaks away from the front or provide accommodation and logistical support, he told reporters.

In Queensland, around 50 wildfires were raging on Saturday.

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Authorities have appealed to people to register themselves, and register details if they are concerned for missing loved ones.

Even if the fires are managed for the rest of the year, Fitzsimmons said Australia still had the summer months ahead, bringing major heat waves, dry winds and the worst of their fire conditions.

Emergency services are so concerned that conditions are going to deteriorate over the next two days that they have warned people that they can not rely on help and should consider evacuating in advance.

"We are so impacted by drought and the lack of rain", she told AAP on Saturday.

"It's climate change, there's no doubt about it". The whole of the country is going to be affected. "We need to take a serious look at our future".

Winds are expected to pick up in the afternoon and no rain is forecast throughout the weekend.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has extended her gratitude to all the emergency workers and NSW firefighters, and said warnings about the severity of this bushfire season had "unfortunately ... come to fruition".

The remaining fire at emergency level was the Hillville Road fire, south of Taree, following the peak of 17 blazes at emergency on Friday.

Hundreds of people evacuated their homes along a 500-kilometer (310-mile) swath of the eastern seaboard from the Queensland state border south to Forster.

The current disaster has not wreaked the human devastation of Australia's worst recent bushfires, the Black Saturday fires that killed 173 people in Victoria state in 2009, with some experts attributing that to better early warning systems.

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