According to the firefighters, a "megafar" is burning in eastern Australia. The 60-kilometer-wide front ravages near the city of Sydney, one of the hotspots lies 75 kilometers from the city center. Nearly 3000 firefighters are on duty.
The Australians are accustomed to fires being reported in many parts of the country during the summer months. But the bushfire season usually starts in December. This year, the first devastation occurred in October, and the record-breaking area of about one million hectares has already been burned. An unusually long drought, strong wind, low humidity and high temperatures make the situation so threatening. Scientists argue that heating the earth makes the disaster worse (read this in a guest article).
Smoke has been pouring over Sydney for days, ashes were raining. "It will take many weeks to extinguish these fires – and only if we get a lot of rain," said the fire department.
On Friday afternoon, a thick smoke blanket had formed over Sydney again. Dozens of schools remained closed, and several sporting events were canceled.
Steven Saphore / AAP / DPA
A dog sits on the beach in Sydney: clouds of smoke over the city
The authorities also called on the residents of three suburbs of the city of Brisbane to move to safety. The conditions are "extremely dangerous". The fire department could possibly soon no longer prevent the fires spread further, said the Fire Department in Queensland. In several national parks in the region, including Wollemi, Yengo and Dharug, the flames have already caused devastating damage.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been talking about one of the worst air pollutants Sydney is experiencing in recent days. There are more than 100 bushfires burning in the state of New South Wales. The weather additionally heats the flames: meteorologists expect more drought and wind for the coming days.