Bushfires and flooding ravage Australia

Bushfires and flooding ravage Australia

7 January 2009

published by www.3news.co.nz

Australia — Massive bushfires are burning across New South Wales in Australia as firefighters brace for more hot weather.

The ferocious fires, fuelled by dry hot windy conditions, have ripped through hundreds of hectares of bush land.

“Given the predicted conditions of the day, easily any of those fires could be a real problem,” says Rob Rogers from the Rural Fire Service.

As temperatures surpass 40 degrees, a fire ban has been enforced and state of emergency put in place.

Seven helicopters and fixed wing water bombers have been sent in to battle one of the fires, with the rough terrain making it near impossible for ground crews to attack it.

The soaring temperatures are also proving problematic in the city. In the western suburbs of Sydney the temperature reached 40 degrees for the fourth day in a row.

Penrith recorded 41 degrees yesterday, making it the hottest day for two years.

Parents have been warned not to leave their children alone in cars, with some cars reaching 81 degrees.

In stark contrast to the fires in New South Wales, floods are ravaging Queensland.

At Gregory, deep in Queensland’s outback, the river has risen 13 metres.

The area has been cut off, trapping dozens of tourists and locals.

“We never thought that this would happen to us in Australia because we thought Australia was just hot,” says tourist Jonas Huthmacher.

The damage bill is already more than $12 million and is expected to rise dramatically over the next few days.

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