08:00 GMT +330 March 2017
    A bushfire in Australia

    Hell Unleashed: Australia Battles Bushfires Amid Catastrophic Heatwave

    © Flickr/ NSW RFS Media Services
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    The heatwave that raised air temperatures in Australia to the highest in the history of the continent’s meteorology has led to massive bushfires all across the state of New South Wales.

    Australia is being scorched by a massive "heatwave from hell," as air temperature across the continent spiked to some 45 degrees Celsius, with the highest, 48.5 C, registered in the town of Tarcoola. As Sputnik reported Friday, the Australian fire service announced a nationwide fire ban and bushfire warning. They were right to do so, but they didn't prevent New South Wales from being engulfed in flame.

    According to media reports, there are more than 80 out of control bushfires ravaging the state at the moment. The largest of those is some 350 km from Sydney. Firefighters are reportedly going door to door urging residents to evacuate. Thankfully, no loss of life or injury has been reported so far, but there are reports of houses, machinery and other property already lost to fire some 370 km east of Sydney.

    ​The Bureau of Meteorology says the fires that started in the central region and are spreading northeast, producing hot, dry winds that also carry a lot of smoke.

    "This will produce widespread severe to catastrophic fire conditions in central and northern districts," the bureau said.

    According to NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, the extremity of fire ratings is "simply off the old conventional scale." He said that current fire conditions are worse than the notorious Black Saturday in 2009, which claimed 173 lives and has been described as one of Australia's worst peacetime disasters.

    So far, only three teenagers have called for help from first responders. Despite the heat, they had apparently departed on a walking trip to Marramarra National Park, but ran out of water too fast. They were picked up suffering from heat exposure, but nothing worse. First responders are imploring people to stay out of national parks and woods and generally stay indoors to avoid heat stroke.

    As Sputnik reported previously, the residents of Australian cities are urged to switch off all electric appliances when not in use and set their air conditioning systems to the highest temperature setting to reduce energy consumption to prevent blackouts. The beaches in urban areas are reportedly closed due to massive biological contamination of littoral waters, which could cause severe health damage when combined with high water temperatures.


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    • avatar
      I suppose now, that we have to include the Australians in our immigration policy. We have their restaurants and all the 'bolly works" that they call language. Crocodile Dundee was a bust. Turnbull is nothing that even London wants to employ. The answer is still "NO!"
    • Bodo
      That happen every year! Centuries ago the Aborigines had layed the fire to prevent big bush fires! But later it became forbidden by the Australian government. Now the Australians have that problem. But they don't learn from the past!
    • avatar
      just a little over exaggeration there in describing the extent of the bushfires in NSW. It may be an idea for the editorial team to do as the bbc does and to ask if there are any of its readers in the area and then they could report what is known on the ground as it were. I for one would be happy to do that.
    • avatar
      What heat wave? There are wildfires in Australia every year. It has been a frigid summer.
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply tomarcanhalt(Show commentHide comment)
      marcanhalt, Que?
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply toBodo(Show commentHide comment)
      Bodo, your comment shows your complete lack of knowledge regarding bush fire control techniques in my country, especially in my home state..
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, a little like the hysteria that is the term 'catastrophic' when putting in place fire level indicators, such it seems is the times. I'm in NSW and have yet to smell smoke let alone see those fires.
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply toMagenta61(Show commentHide comment)
      Magenta61, it has been pretty hot where I live. We have had 40 plus temps one or two days a week since mid December. One of the hottest I can remember and I'm 65. But, the reference in this article about it being the hottest ever recorded is absolutely wrong. One need only look at Royal Navy ships logs from January 1788 in Sydney to realize that this country saw far hotter temperatures back then.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)
      terry, we are like you, although we are in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. A few small 'forests' around and the RFS is on duty along with some Canadian pilots and mechanics ready for aerial water 'bombing', but still very quiet - just hot! :)
    • avatar
      terryjohnodgersin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, what amazes me about this summer is the hysterical reaction by the media of all stripes. It has been so illogical, like it was the end of the world!

      My wife and I live on top of a mountain, along with around 500 others. We are completely surrounded by timber, and some of it quite tall, and of course lots of bush that everyone up here has been clearing out over the past four years to reduce the fire hazard.

      So I believe we are pretty safe where we are. I had been caught in a bush fire some years ago so I do know what to expect.

      Got an RFS message last Sunday to get out!!!! Could not smell any smoke, there was hardly any wind, could not see smoke on any horizon, and our view up here goes for miles. So stayed put like everyone else up here and nothing happened, no nearby fires at all so the hysterics of that get out message IMO bordered on irresponsibility.

      Keep safe and sniff the breeze every so often because you'll smell the smoke before seeing it or the fire.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)
      terry, we're fine as we are surrounded by several vacant paddocks, few trees - unless you want to head to the hills a few kilometres away - if anything were to happen we will be in a position to note it and respond. Thanks! :)
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