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World 'Stay alert': millions of Australians brace for 'catastrophic' bushfires

01:30  12 november  2019
01:30  12 november  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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"We really need people to stay alert , stay informed, and stay safe and act in accordance with your plan and the advice that might be given out throughout the Bushfires are a common and deadly threat in Australia ’s hot, dry summers, but the current severe outbreak - across several parts of New South

“We really need people to stay alert , stay informed, and stay safe and act in accordance with your plan and the advice that Officials have rated the harbour city at “ catastrophic fire danger” for Tuesday, the first time it has received that designation since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Residents across a wide swath of Australia's east coast were bracing for "catastrophic" conditions on Tuesday, with searing heat and high winds expected to fan scores of already burning bushfires, threatening residential areas.

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“We really need people to stay alert , stay informed, and stay safe and Sydneysiders woke up to a city shrouded in smoke. Officials have rated the harbour city at “ catastrophic fire danger” for Tuesday, the first time it has received that designation since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

Fires raged across a swathe of Australia 's east coast on Tuesday, destroying more homes and shrouding Sydney in smoke from a blaze authorities fear they will be unable to control until next week. An aircraft was diverted to drop fire retardants on bushfires threatening homes in Sydney's northern.

Millions of people across two states are subject to a seven-day state of emergency that was imposed by officials on Monday, with locals in areas deemed most at risk urged to evacuate before the worst hits.

"We really need people to stay alert, stay informed, and stay safe and act in accordance with your plan and the advice that might be given out throughout the day," NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters.

a view of a city at sunset: FILE PHOTO: High-rise buildings are seen through smoke from bushfires during sunset in Sydney © Reuters/Stephen Coates FILE PHOTO: High-rise buildings are seen through smoke from bushfires during sunset in Sydney

Sydneysiders woke up to a city shrouded in smoke. Officials have rated the harbor city at "catastrophic fire danger" for Tuesday, the first time it has received that designation since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

More than 60 bushfires are raging the state of New South Wales in Australia

  More than 60 bushfires are raging the state of New South Wales in Australia Fire officials are warning of "catastrophic fire danger" as firefighters battle dozens of blazes raging across the Australian state of New South Wales. © Dan Peled/EPA/Shutterstock Mandatory Credit: Photo by DAN PELED/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10470920b) A firefighter works to contain a bushfire near Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia, 10 November 2019. Three people have reportedly been killed, five are missing and 150 homes have been destroyed as more than 80 bushfires are burning uncontained around the state.

"We really need people to stay alert , stay informed, and stay safe and Sydneysiders woke up to a city shrouded in smoke. Officials have rated the harbour city at " catastrophic fire danger" for Tuesday, the first time it has received that designation since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

Residents across a wide swath of Australia 's east coast were bracing for " catastrophic " conditions on Tuesday, with searing heat and high winds expected to fan scores of already High-rise buildings are seen through smoke from bushfires during sunset in Sydney, Australia , November 11, 2019.

Home to more than 5 million people, Sydney is ringed by large areas of bushland, much of which remains tinder dry following little rain across the country's east coast in recent months.

Bushfires are a common and deadly threat in Australia’s hot, dry summers, but the current severe outbreak - across several parts of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland states, as well as Sydney - weeks before the summer peak, has caught many by surprise.

Lawmakers and firefighters in NSW, where temperatures were expected to reach 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) said they were prepared, but warned there was only so much they could do.

"We are planned, we are escalated to a high level of standby and readiness," Fitzsimmons said.

There were 54 fires ablaze across the state, around half of which were uncontained, Fitzsimmons said, adding around 3,000 firefighters were deployed or on standby.

Winds fan ferocious fires in Australia's most populous state

  Winds fan ferocious fires in Australia's most populous state Ferocious wildfires were burning at emergency-level intensity across Australia's most populous state and into Sydney's suburbs on Tuesday as authorities warned most people in their paths that there was no longer time to flee. New South Wales state is under a weeklong state of emergency, a declaration that gives the Rural Fire Service sweeping powers to control resources and direct other government agencies in its efforts to battle fires. The worst fires on Tuesday emerged in the state's northeast, where three people have died and more than 150 homes have been destroyed since Friday.

“We really need people to stay alert , stay informed, and stay safe and act in accordance with your plan and the advice that might be given out throughout the Sydneysiders woke up to a city shrouded in smoke. Officials have rated the harbor city at “ catastrophic fire danger” for Tuesday. It’s the first time

Officials have rated the harbour city at " catastrophic fire danger" for Tuesday. Residents across a wide swath of Australia 's east coast were bracing for " catastrophic " conditions on Tuesday, with searing heat and high winds expected to fan scores of already burning bushfires , threatening residential areas.

"We are not going to control fires under catastrophic conditions," he said. "They have the ability to develop and grow extremely quickly and develop into very large fires."

Seeking to avoid deaths, firefighters have been given broad powers to control government resources, force evacuations, close roads and shut down utilities.

Around 600 schools and colleges were closed as a precaution and authorities advised anyone suffering respiratory conditions to stay indoors.

In Queensland state, the danger was not quite as great, with the threat level pegged at "severe", two levels below the "catastrophic" conditions in NSW. Still, some 22 fires were burning across the northern state.

(Graphic: State of emergency: Australia's bushfires: https://graphics.reuters.com/AUSTRALIA-BUSHFIRES/0100B30H252/index.html)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Jane Wardell)

South Australia bushfires: Schools close as 'catastrophic' fires threaten homes and lives .
Deadly bushfires have ravaged parts of Australia in recent weeks, whipped up by soaring temperatures, strong winds and the worst drought in decades. But summer hasn't really even begun -- and fears are growing that conditions will only get worse. More than 100 schools have closed in South Australia as catastrophic fire conditions threatened seven districts across the state Wednesday, including the Mount Lofty Ranges and Mid North, near to the state's capital Adelaide which is home to 1.3 million people.

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