Saturday, January 05, 2013

Tassie ablaze

Our island state of Tasmania is struggling with at least twenty-five bushfires in record hot conditions. Hobart has had its hottest day since records began, reaching 41.8C.

With conditions at the official catastrophic level the town of Dunalley has lost up to eighty properties including homes, shops and a school.

A man is feared dead after he was last seen by a fire crew fighting to save his house as they were forced to shelter in their vehicle when the fire swept over them.

Property has been destroyed in other towns, evacuation orders have been issued, hundreds of people are in refuge centres, others have been, or are waiting to be, rescued by boat.

The Tasmania Fire Service website lists three Emergency Warning incidents, which means residents need to take immediate action because any delay may put lives in danger. The Fire Service has nearly fifty vehicles in the three locations.

It's not just Tassie that has the hot weather though. While Sydney's coastal areas are missing it with temps only in the high twenties - although thirty-five forecast for Tuesday, my first day back - we have a heatwave over most of the continent.

Most state capitals have nearly forty celcius forecast for the next few days and there's even a suggestion that the country's highest-ever temp. (50.7 degrees at Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia in January 1960) might go.

Tasmania Fire Service website

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