(HBO) - Authorities declared a state of emergency across a broad swath of Australia’s east coast on Monday, urging residents in high risk areas to evacuate ahead of looming "catastrophic” fire conditions.
A cluster of burnt out cars sit at a property at
Rainbow Flat, Australia, November 11, 2019.
burning across New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland states have already killed
three people and destroyed more than 150 homes. Officials expect adverse heat
and wind conditions to peak at unprecedented levels on Tuesday.
Bushfires are a common and
deadly threat in Australia’s hot, dry summers but the current severe outbreak,
well before the summer peak, has caught many by surprise.
"Everybody has to be on alert
no matter where you are and everybody has to be assume the worst and we cannot
allow complacency to creep in,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters
The country’s most populous
city has been designated at "catastrophic fire danger” for Tuesday, when
temperatures as high as 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) are
forecast to combine with powerful winds for potentially deadly conditions. It
is the first time Sydney has been rated at that level since new fire danger
ratings were introduced in 2009.
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
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