As an area about the size of South Korea, which is 25.5 million acres approximately, has burned, this is a fightback response to the escalating bushfire threat. It would also allow the Rural Fire Service to carry out forced evacuations and road closures.
Since September, the Australian authorities have reported that the wildfires have killed 18 people and destroyed more than 1,200 homes across NSW and Victoria. Fresh numbers erupted this week with more than 17 people declared missing.
Meteorologists say a climate system in the Indian Ocean, known as the dipole, is the main driver behind the extreme heat in Australia. Additionally, many parts of the country have been in drought conditions for years, which may have made it easier for the fires to spread and grow.
According to Swiss-based group AirVisual, in the capital of Canberra, the air quality was rated worse than in any major global city last week. High temperatures and strong winds have been forecast for the week ahead that could lead to “widespread extreme fire danger”.
A naval vessel has arrived off the coastal town of Mallacoota, near the NSW border. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds tweeted that the HMAS Choules was in position. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has said that the ship would take up to 800 people and could do “multiple trips”.
Workers are busy clearing roads, restoring power, and conducting “backburning” operations to thin out bushland near fire fronts as NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has urged people to drive slowly amid thick smoke. Deliveries have been suspended in the city until further notice.
In the meantime, two regions of Western Australia (WA) are also facing catastrophic fire danger and parts of South Australia were expected to see extreme conditions in times ahead. Summer extends from December to February in Australia, with fire season typically peaking in late January or early February, so the disaster is expected to continue.