News / Asia

Wildfires Ravage Southern Australia

  • 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
VOA News
Australian authorities say wildfires burning through the southeastern state of New South Wales have destroyed around 100 homes near Sydney and left one man dead.

Officials said Friday that around 100 fires are burning, fanned by unusually high temperatures and high winds, about a third of which are still uncontained. Hundreds of people spent Thursday night in evacuation centers on the outskirts of Sydney.
The wildfires raging through New South Wales have already destroyed at least 100 homes near Sydney.

Australian authorities warn that more properties were likely to fall victim as the fires burned out of control.
 
“The fire activity that we were being reported was certainly extreme. Certainly we had flame heights in excess of 20 to 30 meters,” said one firefighter.
 
Location of wildfires in southern AustraliaLocation of wildfires in southern Australia
x
Location of wildfires in southern Australia
Location of wildfires in southern Australia
The one reported death so far was of a 63-year-old man who had a heart attack as he tried to defend his home.
 
Some areas in the Blue Mountains were expected to reopen as the weather turned milder on Friday.
 
The anticipated change is all too late for those now struggling to come to terms with the loss of their homes and possessions.

Even as the weather starts to change, officials say conditions are still dangerous.

Some information in this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs