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Fires continue to rage across Australia

Fire crews fight the Gospers Mountain Fire in Bilpin, Australia, on Dec. 21. Associated Press/Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images

Fires continue to rage across Australia

Drought, record temperatures, and high winds are fueling about 100 wildfires in the Australian state of New South Wales. The fires have killed 12 people, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and burned more than 12 million acres across Australia this year. A lightning storm with no rain on Sunday ignited 60 fires, mostly in New South Wales, though there are blazes in every state, and firefighters have contained less than half of them.

What effect are the fires having? Tourists in coastal towns gathering to celebrate the new year evacuated to beaches or boats to escape nearby fires. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week said the government would hand out $4,200 bonuses to the volunteer firefighters who “have been called out for extended periods of service.” The United States, Canada, and New Zealand have deployed firefighters to the country, and the Australian Defense Force supplied aircraft and army personnel. Sydney held its annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display despite a petition signed by more than a quarter of a million people calling for a cancellation.

Dig deeper: Read Onize Ohikere’s earlier report on the bushfires in The Sift.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha is a freelancer for WORLD Digital. She is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute, holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hillsdale College, and has a multiple-subject teaching credential from California State University. Samantha resides in Chico, Calif., with her husband and their two sons.


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