Those nasty trees kill people. Much better to have desert which doesn't host raging fires.
In Australia, the Nullarbor is no longer just a location, it is also an objective.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-n ... ssing-live
NSW and Queensland fires: two people dead, seven unaccounted for and more than 100 homes destroyed – live
NSW’s Glen Innes the site of confirmed deaths and missing persons, as 77 bushfires still burn across the east-coast states
There have been a few questions to the PM, including one about the ferocity of these early fires and links to climate change.
“My only thoughts today are those who lost their lives and their families, the firefighters fighting the fires, the response effort that has to be delivered, and how the Commonwealth can support those efforts,” he replied.
He said Australia had been “battling ferocious fires for as long as Australia has been a nation and well before,” he said.
He said Australians all had to brace themselves for the fire season, and he feared there would be more deaths confirmed before the day was out.
“We always have to listen carefully to the warnings, and undertake the preparations that are advised in every single season. I think that Australians increasingly understand that and I would be encouraging them to revisit their fire preparation plans. The fire might be on your doorstep today, but as we go into every fire season and every summer season, the risk is ever present, and it’s important that families understand what the evacuation procedures are. What numbers to call. What things to ready themselves with, and how they can best prepare their properties in the event of a firestorm.
Prime minister Scott Morrison is speaking now – and he’s flagged a “contingency option” of further involvement of the defence forces.
He said the deployment of ADF – beyond the airlifts they’re already doing – hadn’t been requested yet, but he and relevant ministers were discussing having them ready.
“I convened this morning with ministers with direct operational responsibility ... and the ADF is presenting options on callouts of reservists as may be necessary,” he said.
That would likely involve building fire breaks away from fire fronts, and providing accommodation and logistics to assist the state agencies working on the frontline.
“Our defence forces are not trained firefighters,” he stressed.
“The ADF can provide a lot of support in logistics and other areas as required.”
Morrison has thanked services responding to the emergencies, and also warned that similar conditions were expected in WA over the next few days.
Three WA regions were expected to go to “catastrophic” warnings, and resources would be made available.
“The sad truth is we’ve had far too much practice and deployments in these areas but the lessons learned ... have ensured the coordination and response is very swift.”
He also said emergency service payments for people affected would be mobilised over the weekend – $1,000 per adult and $400 per child.
Greg Allan, spokesman for the NSW rural fire service, has given us a quick update on the resources out there fighting the 81 bush and grass fires across the state.
There are more than 1,200 RFS firefighters, more than 300 vehicles, and more than 60 aircraft including two large air tankers.
That’s including local crews, but there are also out-of-areas crews and interstate agencies assisting, as well as NSW fire and rescue, the national parks and wildlife service, and forestry.
In the north of NSW, 164 minimum security inmates were evacuated from Glenn Innes prison to Grafton, according to the department of corrections.
There are stock losses and at least 10 homes as well as bridges lost in the Nambucca valley, the mayor of the shire, Rhonda Hoban, has said. The Kian road fire has gone through more than 14,000 hectares and is at a watch and act level.
Hoban has asked for people living near the fireground areas to do what they need to do while they can and get out. The rest of the community to stay away from the fireground areas. She said mobile services and electricity was out for hundreds of people.
At the moment in NSW there are two emergency level fires – at Hillville and Stockyard Flat – and 14 at the watch and act level.
In Queensland, there is one emergency fire at Cooroibah and three watch and act.
There are still dozens of fires burning across both states.
That out-of-control Hillville fire, south of Taree, has gone through more than 12,300 hectares so far, and local ABC radio reported just few minutes ago that it has reached the coastline at Diamond Beach.
Club Old Bar on the mid north coast has been set up as a safe neighbourhood space, as the large fire approaches the coastal town. There’s about 320 people there, and organisers are expecting more.
The mid north coast mayor has just told the ABC the surf club had been sheltering people but it was recently evacuated.
Today, NSW RFS Building Assessment Teams are heading to fire affected areas to assess property damage, while crews work to clear fallen trees & reopen local roads. We're trying to get people back to their properties as soon as we can, but it may take some time. #nswrfs #nswfires
We’re also hearing from on the ground that new roads are being closed as fires shift direction. Monitor local broadcasters and please obey the signs.