Asia Minute: Wildfires Sweep Eastern Australia

Oct 10, 2019

Fears of strong winds and dry conditions that could produce wildfires are leading California’s main power utility to cut electricity to large areas in northern California. On the other side of the world, residents are taking different precautions following fires in Australia. 

Fire season has come early to many parts of Australia this year---especially in the east.

Thousands of acres burned this week in Queensland—the state that includes the city of Brisbane—and in the northern part of New South Wales—the state where Sydney is located.

It’s still spring time down under---but the weather has been unseasonable—windy, dry---and unusually hot.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports temperatures in some parts of Queensland topped 106 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday.

Last month, fires swept through some of the same areas in the eastern part of the country—forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

Large areas of Australia’s east coast have already been suffering from severe drought.

Regional media say that without the replenishment of regular rainfall, several rural centers could run out of drinking water by the early part of next year.

A government report on the state of the climate earlier this year found Australia’s air temperature has warmed over the past century—increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts and fires.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters Wednesday that fire alerts have also been issued in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.