[QODLink]
Weather

Heatwave sparks bushfires across Australia

Bushfires rage across Australia as the country experiences one of its worst heatwaves in the last 50 years.
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2013 10:38

Enjoying the sunshine in Melbourne [Getty Images]

Bushfires are raging in many parts of Australia as the country experiences one of its most intense heatwaves in the last half century.

Some 80 percent of the country is in the grips of the heatwave, believed to have its origins in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Settled weather conditions, aided by significantly above-average water temperatures along the coast have fed exceptionally warm air across the continent.

Temperatures of just over 48 Celsius have been recorded in Eucla, WA and at Wudinna on the Eyre Peninsula, SA.

The high temperatures and gusty winds have combined to provide perfect conditions for wildfires, many of which start as a result of thunderstorms.

The island of Tasmania seems to have been particularly badly hit. Hobart recorded a temperature of 41.8 Celsius at 4pm on Friday, beating the previous record set on the same day back in 1976, by exactly one degree.  

Up to 40 fires are believed to be active across the island. 77 fire crews are dealing attempting to confine them. One of the worst affected locations is the town of Dunalley, to the east of Hobart, where an estimated 65 buildings have been destroyed, including the police station and school. There are also unconfirmed reports of a fatality.

With the heatwave expected to continue for at least another week in many parts of Australia, the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has warned people: “Take care and stay safe as we face extreme heat around our nation. Listen to warnings on the high bushfire risk”.

280

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list