Tens of thousands ordered to evacuate as massive bushfire sweeps through southeast Australia

Authorities on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of tens of thousands of citizens due to a massive bushfire across Australia’s southeastern Victoria state as hot winds and a potential thunderstorm threaten to aggravate fire danger, local media reported.

Around 30,000 people had been ordered to evacuate parts of Victoria before midday Wednesday as firefighters are battling the blaze amid one of the worst fire conditions the country has seen in recent years, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Hot, dry and windy conditions have created “extreme to catastrophic fire dangers” in parts of Victoria and South Australia, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, which also forecast that the mercury could touch 45 C (113 F) in some parts of the state.

“Today will be a very challenging day for firefighters,” Jason Heffernan, chief officer at Victoria Fire Department, told ABC television. “Today is one of those days when communities may need to take immediate action at very short notice.”

Hundreds of firefighters have been battling a bushfire that started last Thursday near the city of Ballarat, 95 kilometers (60 miles) west of Melbourne, and is “not yet under control.”

The blaze has already destroyed six homes, killed livestock and burnt more than 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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