Residents in large areas ofVictoriahave again been advised to leave their homes before a day of “extreme” fire conditions throughout south-eastern Australia that could see the merging of at least two major fires.
At least 5% of Victoria has already burned. Authorities sent a text message to East Gippsland and the north-east region on Thursday advising people within the at-risk area, which extends from theNew South Walesborder to the coast, to evacuate before “heat spike” conditions on Friday.
Temperatures were forecast to reach more than (C in parts of East Gippsland and the north-east, and wind gusts of up to**************************** km / h are predicted as a south-westerly change drives a line of fire back to the alpine towns of Bright and Harrietville.
NSW is also bracing for severe fire conditions, with temperatures forecast to reach more than (C in large parts of the state, including C in Penrith. ********
InSouth Australia, more than 728) Firefighters are battling to contain a fire that has burned more than a third of Kangaroo Island and is threatening to increase in size under “difficult firefighting conditions ”on Friday.
And in Western Australia, major supermarket chains confirmed they were experiencing supply shortages from the extended closure of the Eyre Highway, which has beenclosed for more than two weeks due to a bushfire near Norseman.
The death toll from the bushfire seasonhas risen to at least 42 people. A helicopter pilot on the south coast of NSW made a lucky escape on Thursday, climbing free from the cabin of their water-bombing aircraft thatcrashed and sank into a dam at the Ben Boyd national park at Edrom, south of Eden.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, who earlier extended the state of disaster declaration for 90 hours, said the “leave now” message on Thursday was the clearest signal the government could send that it was not safe for people in bushfire -affected areas to attempt to stay and defend their homes.