Australia’s Victoria Warns Fire Season Could Be Worse Than Last

Australia’s Victoria Warns Fire Season Could Be Worse Than Last

28 October 2009

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 Australia — Australia’s Victoria state warned residents to be prepared as a new bushfire season starts today, saying it could be as bad or worse than last season when 173 people were killed by the worst wildfires on record.

“We live in one of the world’s most fire prone areas and all Victorians, no matter where they live or what their fire experience has been, need to prepare,” Premier John Brumby said in an e-mailed statement. “None of us can afford to be complacent.”

The southeastern Australian state is still recovering from the “Black Saturday” bushfires that swept through on Feb. 7, destroying more than 2,000 properties.

“After 13 years of drought, combined with the impact of climate change, conditions are dry and we all need to be prepared for an intense fire season, which fire experts are predicting will be at least as bad, if not worse than the season we’ve just experienced,” Gavin Jennings, minister for environment and climate change, said in the statement.

The state government has allocated a record emergency services budget of more than A$700 million ($641 million) to help firefighting efforts, nearly triple 10 years ago, it said in the statement.

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