News / Asia

Firefighters, Officials Race to Save Homes from Australian Bushfire

  • Firefighters spray foam on smoldering bush to help reduce reflash fires after a blaze swept through Faulconbridge, west of Sydney, Oct. 24, 2013.
  • Rural Fire Service frefighters take a break after trying to extinguish a fire approaching homes near the Blue Mountains suburb of Faulconbridge, west of Sydney, Oct. 24, 2013.
  • Firefighters control flames during hazard reduction in Bilpin, Australia, Oct. 23, 2013.
  • A female Rural Fire Service firefighter walks through a burnt area after trying to extinguish a small fire approaching homes near the Blue Mountains suburb of Blackheath, west of Sydney, Oct. 23, 2013.
  • Jennifer Schweinsberg and her son David walk around the back yard of their destroyed family home in Sunny Ridge Drive in Winmaleem, near Sydney, Oct. 22, 2013.
  • A firefighter tries to control flames near houses in Bilpin, west of Sydney, Oct. 22, 2013.
  • A firefighter watches as smoke covers a road in Bilpin, west of Sydney, Oct. 22, 2013.
  • Local resident Alan Seaman looks inside a safe in the remains of his home that was destroyed by a fire in the Blue Mountains suburb of Winmalee, west of Sydney, Oct. 21, 2013.
  • Houses can be seen behind a burnt-out car and bicycle after a fire destroyed them in the Blue Mountains suburb of Winmalee, west of Sydney, Oct. 21, 2013.
  • In this photo provided by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, smoke rises from a fire near Lithgow, west of Sydney, Oct. 17, 2013.
Wildfires Ravage Southern Australia
Phil Mercer
Firefighters in eastern Australia are racing to contain huge outbreaks that officials fear could merge to create a “mega blaze” west of Sydney. Authorities in New South Wales have said that the region is facing an “unparalleled" emergency.
 
More than 50 fires continue to burn; about a dozen are out of control, and officials say three particularly large fires could join to form one monstrous wall of flame. Suburbs on the edge of Sydney could then be threatened by outbreaks that are tearing through parts of the Blue Mountains.
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
More than 200 homes have been destroyed so far and many more have been damaged in the worst fire disaster in New South Wales in nearly 50 years.
 
A state of emergency has been declared, giving officials power to order people from their homes.
 
Mike Gallacher, the New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services, said the measures will help the firefighting effort.
  
“It will primarily be… police doing the forced evacuations if we need to go down that path. But [we will] also [be] working with the paid professionals in terms of making decisions within dealing with the fire threat. For example, if it's apparent that they need to cut off electricity or cut off gas utilities to an area, they've got the power to do that. They've got the power to pull down buildings and demolish buildings if they have to. They are extraordinary powers,” said Gallacher.

WATCH: Related video
Australia Struggles to Control Wildfiresi
X
October 21, 2013 7:22 AM
Firefighters are continuing to battle some of the most destructive wildfires to ever strike Australia's most populous state, with higher temperatures and winds expected to intensify the danger in the coming days.

Officials are playing down earlier suggestions that all communities in the Blue Mountains, where 76,000 people live, could be evacuated. Instead, warnings will be issued to communities directly at risk.
 
Helicopters dropping water are supporting 2,000 firefighters, but their efforts are at the mercy of the weather.
 
Strong winds are expected to return later in the week, heaping more pressure on exhausted emergency crews and anxious residents.
 
What firefighters fear is a repeat of the hot temperatures, tinder dry conditions and gusty winds that fuelled outbreaks at the end of last week.
 
In February 2009, 173 people were killed in bushfires that tore through parts of Victoria state in Australia's worst natural disaster.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid