Australia bushfires: Residents stranded as fires escalate

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An Australian town has spent the night cut off by bushfires as volatile weather whips up the most significant threat for almost a week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned Friday would be "a difficult day in the eastern states" amid forecasts of heat, strong winds and dry lightning.

In South Australia, one town on Kangaroo Island faced an abrupt threat.

Erratic winds on Thursday amplified a blaze which isolated the island's biggest town, Kingscote, from roads.

Some residents spent the night sleeping close to the water's edge, but ferry services were expected to resume on Friday.

In parts of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), authorities urged people to leave their homes "to avoid tragedy".

Since September, at least 27 people have died in bushfires which have destroyed more than 10.3 million hectares nationally.

"We are a long way from the end of this crisis and this disaster," Mr Morrison said.

What's the threat on Friday?

More than 100 bushfires are still burning in worst-hit NSW alone, but the danger is expected to be as great in Victoria.

The state's Country Fire Authority issued several emergency warnings early on Friday, warning people to evacuate before it became too dangerous.

Temperatures in the state could reach 40C in some areas including East Gippsland which has already seen huge bushfires.

In NSW, the state's Rural Fire Service has warned of "very high, severe and extreme fire dangers."

Fires in the state have destroyed about 1,000 homes since the New Year.

Mr Morrison said that two ships remained off the coast of NSW ready to evacuate towns if needed.

The state government has announced A$1bn (£524m) to help rebuild towns destroyed by bushfires. The funding is in addition to the A$2 billion announced by the federal government.

Firefighters from the US, Canada and New Zealand are among those who have flown in to assist fatigued crews.

On Thursday, a waterbombing helicopter crashed into a reservoir in the Bega Valley Shire reRead More – Source


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