Australia fires worsen as every state hits 40C

  • December 30, 2019

The remains of a car that was destroyed by bushfires in Balmoral, New South Wales. Photo: Getty Images

Scores of fires are burning out of control across Australia amid a heatwave that has seen temperatures exceed 40C (104F) in every state.

The most dangerous fires on Monday were in the state of Victoria.

About 30,000 residents and tourists were urged to flee East Gippsland – a popular holiday region – but evacuations were later deemed too risky as fires encroached on major roads.

A volunteer firefighter died battling a blaze in the state of New South Wales.

In total, 10 people have died in the nation’s bushfire crisis since September.

Meteorologists say a climate system in the Indian Ocean, known as the dipole, is the main driver behind the extreme heat in Australia.

What happened to the firefighter?

Authorities said the volunteer firefighter was killed and two others suffered burns after their truck rolled over in extreme winds while they were battling a blaze east of the city of Albury.

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian described the death as “heartbreaking”.

“Words fail at times like this,” she wrote on Twitter.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said another firefighter was injured in a separate vehicle.

“This is awful news for the families and our sympathies are with them. These are testing times. We are so grateful for the courage and dedication of our firefighters,” he tweeted.