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US News Emergency declared for bushfire-threatened Canberra

08:30  31 january  2020
08:30  31 january  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Authorities in Canberra on Friday declared the first state of emergency in almost two decades as a bushfire bore down on the Australian capital. Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Andrew Barr said the measure was "effective now and will be in place for as long as Canberra is at risk".

Australian officials declared a state of emergency for the capital city of Canberra and surrounding regions on Friday, as soaring temperatures and strong winds threatened to propel a large bushfire beyond the control of firefighters. Andrew Barr, Chief Minister for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)


Authorities in Canberra on Friday declared the first state of emergency in almost two decades as a bushfire bore down on the Australian capital.

Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Andrew Barr said the measure was "effective now and will be in place for as long as Canberra is at risk".

The measures come ahead of heatwave conditions expected over the coming days and as forecasts predicted fires could hit southern suburbs of the city of about 400,000.

Video: Bushfire royal commission 'must not detract from recovery efforts' (Sky News)

"It may become uncontrollable," Barr warned. "A state of emergency is the strongest signal we can send to the ACT community that they must prepare themselves and their families."

Authorities also warned of so-called ember attacks, where winds blow glowing ash ahead of the fire front.

It is the first time that a state of emergency has been declared in the Australian Capital Territory since 2003, when fires destroyed almost 500 homes.

The main threat comes from the Orroral Valley fire, which has burned around 18,000 hectares (45,000 acres) of mostly remote bushland.

Gallery: Bushfires ravage Australia (dw.com)

a man standing on top of a dirt field: Massive bushfires have devastated Australia, as the blazes continue to rage across the country. Since the start of one of the worst fire seasons on record, more than 1,300 homes have been burned, thousands of people evacuated, and 18 killed. Here, a photographer reacts to seeing the burnt-out remains of a relative's home in Quaama, New South Wales.
Temperatures reached above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday in South Australia state, where dangerous fire weather warnings were issued in several bushfire-prone areas.

The heatwave is then expected to hit Melbourne and Canberra later Friday before parts of Sydney reach 45 degrees Celsius at the weekend.

Authorities say the searing heat, accompanied by dry winds, would bring severe bushfire conditions to parts of New South Wales and Victoria -- where more than 80 fires are still burning across the two states.

Storms are forecast to follow the heatwave, bringing rain that could help dampen fires but also the potential for wild weather, including flash flooding.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30: A small aircraft is pictured after dumping fire retardant behind houses at the foot of Mount Tennant as the fire front of the Orroral Valley fire creeps through the Namadgi National Park on January 30, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. Firefighters are on high alert as heatwave conditions in New South Wales and the ACT increase the fire danger across areas which have already been affected by bushfire in recent months.  (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images) © Brook Mitchell/Getty Images CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30: A small aircraft is pictured after dumping fire retardant behind houses at the foot of Mount Tennant as the fire front of the Orroral Valley fire creeps through the Namadgi National Park on January 30, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. Firefighters are on high alert as heatwave conditions in New South Wales and the ACT increase the fire danger across areas which have already been affected by bushfire in recent months. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Extreme weather has battered parts of Australia in recent weeks, bringing giant hail, floods and landslides.

At least 33 people have died and vast swathes of the country have been burned since September.

The months-long crisis has sparked renewed calls for Australia's conservative government to take immediate action on climate change, with street protests urging Morrison to reduce the country's reliance on coal.

Scientists say the bushfire disaster was exacerbated by climate change, coming on the back of a crippling drought that turned forests into a tinderbox and allowed blazes to spread out of control quickly.

Taxi driver threatened and has cash stolen by gang of men in Dublin suburb .
A taxi driver was threatened and had cash stolen by a gang of men in Dublin on Tuesday. The incident happened at approximately 8.10pm in Adamstown, Lucan. A group of males are understood to have gotten into the taxi before they confronted the driver and took the money. A Garda spokesperson said: ‘Gardai are investigating […]The incident happened at approximately 8.10pm in Adamstown, Lucan.

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