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article imageDeadly bushfires leave large swathes of Australia incinerated

By Karen Graham     Jan 1, 2020 in World
Bushfires ushered in the New Year in Australia, with thousands of firefighters battling more than 100 blazes across much of the country. Australia deployed military ships and aircraft Wednesday to bring water, food, and fuel to towns cut off by the fires.
Australia is being incinerated by the worst bushfires seen in decades. The country's fire season started earlier than usual in September and has been devastating - leading authorities to call it the worst on record. The fires have also reignited the debate about whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative government has taken enough action on climate change, according to CBC Canada News.
There have been fires in every Australian state, with New South Wales being hit the hardest. The fires have torn through bushland, wooded areas, and national parks like the Blue Mountains. Large cities - like Sydney and Melbourne - have also been affected, with fires burning homes in the outer suburbs and thick plumes of smoke blanketing the urban areas.
Some of the fires have been small and easily contained, but others are massive and have been burning for months. About five million hectares (12.4 million acres) of land have burned nationwide over the past few months, with more than 1,000 homes destroyed. More than a dozen people have died, and in the state of New South Wales alone, more than 900 houses have been destroyed.
On Wednesday, Canberra, the nation's capital, had air quality more than 21 times the hazardous rating - reportedly the worst in the world. The smoke is so bad that it has crossed the Tasman Sea and into New Zealand.
Victoria and New South Wales
In Victoria, a state south of New South Wales, thousands of people have fled to the beach after the coastal town of Mallacoota was ravaged by the fires and highways were cut off by the flames. Over 200,000 hectares, the equivalent of 494,210 acres, have been burned in Victoria's fires, state Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp told CNN.
In New South Wales, thousands of firefighters were battling over 100 blazes as of 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve. The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) reported 68 fires were not contained and eight Emergency Warnings were in place, according to Newsweek.
While the Northern Hemisphere has just begun its winter season, Australia has three more months of summer to endure, and the hottest days are yet to come. Australia is also experiencing the worst drought it has seen in decades. The country's Bureau of Meteorology said in December that last spring was the driest on record. Meanwhile, a heatwave in December broke the record for the highest nationwide average temperature, with some places sweltering under heat that reached well above 40 degrees Celsius (about 113-120 degrees Fahrenheit).
More about Australia, Bushfires, military deployed, Heatwave, Drought
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