Australia is facing an unprecedented national crisis ever since fires have intensified over the past week. Fires have been burning for months with a number of towns evacuated. Although Australia has always seen bushfires, this season has been a lot worse than normal.
High temperatures and strong winds have caused devastation. Twenty people are reported to have been killed including three volunteer firefighters and about six million hectares of bush, forest and parks were reduced to ashes in the fire.
In the worst-hit state, New South Wales (NSW), fire has damaged more than four million hectares, leaving over 1,300 houses destroyed. The small town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, was also largely affected in the fire. Heavy smoke was reported to have originated from forest and bushes.
Thousands of firefighters have been deployed in the field to control the blaze, but conditions are still dangerous and a state of emergency for NSW has come into force. Once fires break out, other areas are also affected. In Australia, fires have affected other states too thereby more than 800,000 hectares have been destroyed in Victoria, after which a state of disaster has been declared for the worst-hit areas in the state.
As the fire has spread across Australia, over 80 homes have been burned in the state of South Australia, the Cudlee Creek. Although, fires have been burning since late November, but have destroyed several homes in recent days.
Firefighters and fire experts were pressed into service over the past month to douse the fire. Troops have been sent to the region to help relocation and control the blaze. During the rescue operation, around 1,000 tourists and residents were evacuated by the Australian navy.