Published: Sat, January 11, 2020
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Australian Megafire Engulfs Nearly 1.5 Million Acres

Australian Megafire Engulfs Nearly 1.5 Million Acres

And it doesn't appear as though things are set to improve, with the Rural Fire Service warning of "erratic behaviour", which means the flames could potentially move and change direction very quickly.

From 12pm today, protestors from Extinction Rebellion will be outside the Australian Embassy in London, protesting against the Australian government's 'failure to respond to the bushfires and the climate emergency'.

Berejiklian said it's going to be a "long, hard night" as everyone could not estimate the extent of the impact of these fires until early Saturday morning.

"And as they grow, we see fires merging", New South Wales Rural Fire Service spokesperson Anthony Clark told the Herald.

"News Corp's decision to take this approach in such a devastating time for our country, communities and the environment is a step too far for any of us stakeholders to ignore and continue with our daily tasks without thinking for a minute about what we are contributing to", she added.

"The changing conditions should allow crews to be successful in reducing spread today and controlling the fires", he said.

The Insurance Council of Australia increased its estimate of damages claims from the fires to more than A$900 million, with claims expected to jump further.

Helicopters dropped supplies to towns at risk of being cut off and C-130 tankers unleashed torrents of fire retardant.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is considering holding a national inquiry into the bushfires after the immediate crisis passes.

Australia's bushfire season started earlier than normal following a three-year drought that has left much of the country's bush land vulnerable to fires.

Combining 2019 fires in California, Brazil and Indonesia still amounts to less than half the burned area in Australia.

Despite pleas from Victorian police and the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to reschedule the Melbourne event to a less risky fire day, several thousand protesters huddled under umbrellas at the State Library.

In Victoria, residents of Wodonga were evacuated overnight.

A dramatic video as emerged of a fire enveloping a family home on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

Mr Morrison has come under blistering criticism for downplaying the need for his government to address climate change, which experts say helps supercharge the blazes.

Elsewhere, the World Wildlife Fund has said that more than 1 billion animals have already been killed directly or indirectly from the fires in Australia. Two more fires are at emergency levels.

In South Australia, residents of Kangaroo Island heeded the warning and many camped close to the water overnight.

Firefighter Andrew Beville, who was battling the Morton fire on the outskirts of the town of Penrose, near Wingello, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he wasn't sure what would happen when the blaze reached the town.

Kaeser also said on Twitter last month that he would "diligently look into the matter".

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