The Australian authorities have urged about a quarter of a million people to evacuate their homes, as rising temperatures and wind speeds are expected to fuel deadly forest fires across the east coast.
On Thursday, military personnel toured the homes of an island in southern Australia to persuade residents to flee the fires, as a new heat wave awaited the fires.
As temperatures start to rise, Victoria authorities have asked people to move to safer areas.
"We have issued an alert for an emergency, and we have sent text messages to 240,000 people mainly across the eastern state of the state. If it is possible to go out, get out and stay away from the remote parts of the forested area of our state," state emergency commissioner Andrew Crisp told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
|Over 150 fires still raging across Australia (Getty Images)|
Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews called on residents to take their preparations for a long ordeal, warning, "We are at the beginning of a summer that will be very difficult."
Temperatures are expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in several parts of Australia today, Friday, threatening to ignite the forest fire season that has already destroyed nearly two thousand homes, and came to about eight million hectares (80 thousand square kilometers) of land, an area equal to the area of Ireland Island.
More than 150 fires are still burning across the country, and the authorities fear that a windward shift towards the south later in the day will lead to fires and change the direction of many fires.
The wind is still strong and can be classified as "harmful", and is expected to sweep Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
The number of victims of raging fires in Australia's forests has risen to 27.
|The fires destroyed about 2,000 homes and caused about eight million hectares (80,000 square kilometers) (Reuters)|
Australia's fires outpace other catastrophic fires around the world, and fires in California, Brazil, and Indonesia in 2019 still together account for less than half of Australia's burned area.
The disaster in Australia is also environmental. Scientists at the University of Sydney estimated that a billion animals have died in fires, including mammals, birds and reptiles.
"The ongoing destruction, which is very rapid destruction in a very vast area, is not comparable to any other destruction. It is a terrible event in terms of area as well as the number of animals," said Professor Chris Dickman University of Sydney in a statement released Monday. Behind the fires.
|University of Sydney scientists estimate that a billion animals have died in the fires (Reuters)|
"Sometimes it is said that Australia is like a bird trapped in an alarming coal mine ... We are probably seeing in Australia what will be the result of global warming in other parts of the world."
The toxic smoke from the fires covered the skies of major cities in Australia, raising health concerns.
And the smoke crossed a distance of more than 12 thousand km to Brazil and Argentina, according to meteorological agencies in both countries.