I think just about every Australian would have heard by now about all the bushfires that are raging at present.
If you are outside of Australia you may perhaps be interested to find out how we are faring with the bushfires at this time of the year.
I am sure a lot of information can be found in the above ABC’s write up.
This morning I heard on the ABC radio news that a lot of aircraft is at present surveying new outbreaks of bushfires within the southwest of New South Wales.
The ABC’s Transcript about Bushfires:
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Southern Australia is heading for the fourth day of an intense heatwave that’s brought record-breaking temperatures.
The scorching heat has put a strain on electricity supplies and stretched ambulance services.
Tomorrow Victoria is potentially facing its worst bushfire threat since Black Saturday.
Strong winds and temperatures over 40 degrees are forecast across the state and South Australia has also issued a severe bushfire warning for tomorrow.
Lisa Whitehead reports.
LISA WHITEHEAD, REPORTER: Retired kindergarten teacher Kate Porter is used to living with the threat of bushfires. For 49 years she’s lived on this bush block on Melbourne’s northern fringes.
Kate, do you brace yourself every year for bushfires?
KATE PORTER: Oh, you have to. You never know what’s going to happen. You just have to be prepared.
LISA WHITEHEAD: Her two-acre block backs on to state forest in one of the highest bushfire risk areas in Victoria. Two days ago, a grass fire took off in nearby kangaroo ground and was burning out of control.
The phone tree in Kate Porter’s street swung into action. Two of her neighbours who were monitoring the blaze rang and advised her to leave.
A thousand fires ignited across Victoria in the past three days as the state baked in over 40-degree heat. In SA it was a similar scenario, with 350 fires breaking out across the state and there could be worse to come.
GREG NETTLETON, COUNTRY FIRE SERVICE CHIEF OFFICER, SA: We’re confident that we’ve got sufficient resources to deal with the current situation, however, that could change quite rapidly tomorrow, particularly when the hotter weather and the winds come through.
LISA WHITEHEAD: 39 fires are still ablaze in Victoria today with most concern focusing on the Grampians in the state’s north-west.
CRAIG LAPSLEY, FIRE SERVICES COMMISSIONER, VICTORIA: It’s a fire in very steep bush country. It requires aircraft, significant aircraft, and not many firefighters can get into the exact area of the fire, so it’s difficult in that sense. So it’s causing us concern and will continue to do so through the night and into tomorrow.
LISA WHITEHEAD: Severe fire warnings have been issued for tomorrow as strong winds and searing 43-degree temperatures are predicted in parts of Victoria.
Is tomorrow the worst conditions we’ve seen since Black Saturday?
CRAIG LAPSLEY: It’d be up there, without a doubt. It’s not the same conditions as Black Saturday. It’s not a code red day. Across the state, it’ll be severe and extreme fire danger ratings. It’s got potential.
LISA WHITEHEAD: Today, Adelaide’s temperature soared to 44.2 degrees. It’s recorded three consecutive days above 43.5 degrees for the first time.
The intense heat in Melbourne has played havoc at the Australian Open. When the temperature topped 42.1 this afternoon, the tournament’s heat policy was finally activated. Roofs were closed and play was suspended on outside courts.
A Climate Council report released today says the number of hot days across Australia has more than doubled and that climate change is making heatwaves more frequent and severe.
SARAH PERKINS, CLIMATE COUNCIL REPORT CO-AUTHOR: There’s certainly a fingerprint of climate change in the trend in heatwaves that we’ve been seeing. So this means that the change in average temperature that we’ve seen, which is due to human-induced climate change, has had an impact in the severity and frequency of heatwaves that we’ve been experiencing.
CRAIG LAPSLEY: In emergency management, I think we’ve known for some time that there is a whole heap of challenges. Some will argue whether climate change is a reality. I think it’s quite clear. We’ve got challenges in climate, we’ve got land use that’s different, we’ve got different farming scenarios, we’ve got people that have taken tree change or sea change. It’s a whole heap of things.
LISA WHITEHEAD: With no relief from the extreme temperatures in sight until Saturday, the elderly, the sick and the young are being urged to continue to stay indoors, stay cool and drink plenty of fluids. But some householders have struggled to cope after experiencing blackouts as the heatwave and increased peak demand impacts on electricity supply.
In Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Nelum Soysa lost power in her Coburg street for eight hours on Tuesday night.
NELUM SOYSA: It’s like an oven, it’s like a furnace. We couldn’t open the door because it was just so hot outside.
LISA WHITEHEAD: The local GP says she was concerned for her elderly neighbours.
NELUM SOYSA: Elderly people get dehydrated. They can get confused. They get irrational. They can get tachycardia and then they get heat distress and that’s very difficult because they sometimes can’t ask for help or don’t know to ask for help.
LISA WHITEHEAD: Ambulance Victoria is warning people to prepare for yet another sweltering night with the overnight temperature in Melbourne not expected to drop below 29 degrees.
PAUL HOLMAN, AMBULANCE VICTORIA: What happens overnight unfortunately is the body doesn’t get enough time to recover. So we’ve had one night, then two, then three and now four and that’s – so people that are already ill or the elderly, they’ve now got a cumulative effect and their body’s not getting enough time to cool down.
LISA WHITEHEAD: Kate Porter isn’t taking any risks with her health or the weather conditions. A Baptist church agency that regularly checks on her welfare found her a place in respite care.
KATE PORTER: If you’re not able to defend your own home, that you should actually leave. I don’t think it’s wise to stay, because you don’t know how fierce the fire’s going to be. Every since I’ve lived there, I think every year, “Well, if it goes, it goes,” and I go.