Asia Minute: Devastating Week for Australia Fires

Nov 22, 2019

Updated: Nov. 22, 11:11 a.m.

It has been a week of destruction in parts of Australia as wild fires have swept across the eastern part of the country. While conditions are improving slightly as the weekend approaches, the danger is not over. 

It’s spring time in Australia and fire season has started early.

In the state of New South Wales alone, more than 6,000 square miles of land have burned since early November. At least half a dozen people have died.

Haze lingered for a few days this week in Sydney — as well as further west in the city of Adelaide — in South Australia.

Health officials issued warnings as air quality deteriorated to hazardous levels.

Fire conditions ranged from “dangerous” in South Australia to “catastrophic” in Victoria.

It’s also been a week of extreme heat across Australia.

On Wednesday, temperatures in parts of every state in the country topped 40-degrees Celsius — 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thursday, Melbourne tied a record high temperature going back to 1894.

Drought is another complicating factor.

Water restrictions are being put into place in Sydney, the most severe in a decade.

For example, starting next month, residents who want to water their gardens or wash their cars at home can’t use hoses. They’re limited to using a watering can or bucket.

Fire season in Australia usually peaks in their summer, and officials are concerned about dry conditions and high temperatures that may continue for several months.