Australian Bushfire Threat Worse Than Black Saturday, ABC Says

Australian Bushfire Threat Worse Than Black Saturday, ABC Says

29 July 2009

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Australia — The threat of bushfires in Australia’s southeastern state of Victoria may be even worse this season than last when the “Black Saturday” blazes killed more than 170 people, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said.

Continuing drought may make Victoria even more vulnerable to bushfires this summer, the broadcaster reported on its Web site, citing a leaked report from the state’s Department of Sustainability and Environment.

A bushfire season with the “greatest potential loss to life and property is now in sight,” the ABC cited the report as saying, adding the state has only 90 days to prepare for a possible repeat of conditions that triggered firestorms earlier this year.

The February blazes destroyed about 2,000 homes as winds as strong as 125 kilometers (78 miles) an hour powered flames across the parched countryside, razing entire towns. The disaster was preceded by temperatures that peaked at 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) in areas of the state.

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