Fires continue to ravage forests and homes, fires made even more dangerous in recent days by a new heat wave. Three people have been killed including a firefighter in the past 24 hours. This morning, in the south-east of the country, thousands of people had to flee the seaside city of Mallacoota, 500 kilometers east of Melbourne, to take refuge on the beach to flee a gigantic fire.
It was the smoke from the fires that greeted the 1,000 inhabitants and 3,000 tourists of Mallacoota upon waking up under an initially orange, then red, then completely black sky when, around 9:30 am, the thick smoke finally completely obscured the sun. Part of the population took refuge on the beach, where some fled by boat to the open sea; others have put on life jackets to enter the sea in case the fire gets too close.
Incredible - and frightening - photos are emerging from Mallacoota, a small town in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, where about 4000 people are sheltering near water, protected by CFA tankers. Visit @ theage's live blog for updates: https://t.co/VAPFn2Yc20 #vicfires pic.twitter.com/BV8JZqmvBUThe Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) December 31, 2019
Firefighters have been deployed to protect those trapped, and preparations are being made to evacuate by sea or land if necessary. The sky was orange in this locality of the State of Victoria.
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The orange red skies in Mallacoota this morning.🔥😧 This footage was captured at 10:30 am as an emergency level bushfire burned towards Mallacoota in East Gippsland. Thousands of residents have been evacuated to the foreshore to escape the fire. 🔗: Link in bio to follow our bushfire live blog 🎥: Mohamad el Houli, supplied by @_chalom #mallacoota #eastgippsland #victoria #vicfires #bushfire #bushfiresaustralia #emergency
A publication shared by ABC Melbourne (@abcinmelbourne) on Dec. 30. 2019 at 7: 16 PST
In some areas of this state of Victoria and that of neighboring New South Wales, the fires were so violent and the smoke was so thick that aerial reconnaissance and bombing operations had to be stopped. Images of firefighters in Wyoming, New South Wales, show a fire truck overtaken by fires.
The crew from Fire and Rescue NSW Station 509 Wyoming recorded this video showing the moment their truck was overrun by the bushfire burning South of Nowra. The crew was forced to shelter in their truck as the fire front passed through. #NSWFires #ProtectTheIrreplaceable pic.twitter.com/Hb0yVrefi9Fire and Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) December 31, 2019
The city of Sydney is once again enveloped in a thick cloud of smoke on Tuesday, but the municipality has decided to maintain the New Year's fireworks , one of the grandest in the world, despite a petition of 280,000 signatures asking for its cancellation, out of respect for the victims, and also asking that the money spent be used to fight the fires that have ravaged the country for four months now.
Fires in Australia have killed three people in the past 24 hours, with five missing. In total, the fires have killed at least 14 people since September, destroyed more than a thousand houses and devoured around 5.5 million hectares, an area larger than that of Denmark or the Netherlands. Reinforcements were requested from firefighters in Canada and the United States.