More than 500 firefighters continued their frantic attempts to contain an out-of-control bushfire in South Australia on Monday. The summer fire, which started Friday, has been declared a "catastrophe" by the Insurance Council of Australia and is expected to spread further as the week progresses.
Meteorologists predicted Tuesday's temperatures would reach 100 degrees with no significant chances of rain until Thursday. So far, the fire has burned about 12,500 hectares of land, threatening the Australian states of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. About 30 people and 30 homes have been destroyed. "We're really racing against time to try to make sure that we get as much of this contained before the hotter weather and the stronger winds are expected later in the week," South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill told BBC News.
Residents in about 20 neighborhoods were forced to evacuate. Authorities worked over the weekend to clear the roads, but falling power lines and trees threatened travelers' safety. “The fact I’m not here talking about deaths is a good thing, but we’ve got a bit of a way to go before I think we can relax,” Weatherill said, according to Bloomberg.
The fire is the biggest in the area since 1983, when severe drought and low rainfall culminated in the Ash Wednesday bushfires, which killed 75 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes, according to a Country Fire Authority fact sheet. About 200,000 hectares were damaged.
To prevent a similar scenario, state firefighting crews were flying in Monday to help local firefighters secure the fire's perimeter. “Our intention is to put as much as we possibly can into the fire-affected area, so when the weather comes through on Wednesday, we’ve got lots of resources there,” Country Fire Service chief officer Greg Nettleton told Bloomberg.
See Twitter photos below:
— Morning Mix (@MorningMix) January 5, 2015
— ANDRE OMER SIREGAR (@aosny2011) January 4, 2015
— Nine News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) January 4, 2015
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) January 3, 2015
— Douglas MacDonald (@dmac5dmark2) January 3, 2015
This the view of the fire in the regional Adelaide Hills from the CBD centre. Monstrous! pic.twitter.com/2BTWUw3hew
— Liverpool Australia (@LFC_Australia) January 3, 2015
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) January 3, 2015