Australia has been hit with devastating fires that have seen NSW and Queensland declare a state of emergency. More than 120 bushfires are burning across the two states in Australia. At least three people have died during the fires and thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes.
The danger is expected to increase tomorrow with Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter regions set to experience “catastrophic fire danger.”
Temperatures are expected to reach 37C. “Under these conditions, these fires will spread quickly and threaten homes and lives,” NSW Rural Fire Service said in a statement.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now updated its travel advice to Australia.
“Several bushfires are currently burning across Northern New South Wales extending into the Sunshine Coast region in Queensland, with many residents advised to evacuate,” said the FCO.
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“The New South Wales Rural Fire Service have advised the Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter regions will experience catastrophic fire danger on Tuesday 12 November 2019.
“This is the highest possible level of risk. For more information on Fire Danger Ratings visit the New South Wales Rural Fire Service website.
“The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has advised people in areas at risk to move to larger towns, shopping centres or facilities and to keep away from bushland areas.”
The FCO explained what people in the impacted areas of Australia should do.
“If you’re in or near an affected area, stay safe and follow the advice of local authorities: New South Wales Rural Fire Service or Queensland Fire & Emergency Services. In the event of emergency, always dial Triple Zero (000),” said the FCO.
This is the first time NSW fire authorities have issued the maximum level of warnings since fire warnings were introduced 10 years ago
The fires have burned 970,000 hectares of land and destroyed 150 houses in NSW. In Queensland, nine homes have been burned down.
“Everybody has to be on alert no matter where you are and everybody has to assume the worst and we cannot allow complacency to creep in,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Yesterday Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families.”
More than 400 schools have closed across NSW as the fires scorched the region.
“Safety remains the number one priority. If it is not safe to travel to school please do not attend and inform the school of your intention,” said Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.
Previously, NSWRFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told ABC the state has “never had this many fires at emergency level.”