Thursday, November 21, 2019

Australians shelter from bushfires as political heat climbs

Australia, like the U.S., has chosen to elect a leader who denies climate disruption and blocks action against it.
Note it is in the southern hemisphere, so while it is late fall in the U.S., it is late spring in Australia.

By Colin Packham
,Reuters•November 20, 2019

Firefighters battled hundreds of bushfires across Australia on Thursday as scores of blazes sprang up in new locations, triggering warnings that it was too late for some residents to evacuate.

As Thick smoke blanketed the most populous city of Sydney for a third day, residents were urged to keep children indoors, stepping up pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to tackle climate change.

By early afternoon, dozens of fires were burning across the southeastern state of Victoria and temperatures of 40.9 Celsius (105.6 F) in Melbourne, its capital, matched the hottest day on record in 1894, Australia's weather bureau said.


Blazes across several states have endangered thousands of people, killing at least four people this month, burning about 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush and destroying more than 400 homes.

The early arrival and severity of the fires in the southern hemisphere spring follows three years of drought that experts have linked to climate change and which have left bushland tinder-dry.

With 10 days remaining to the official start of summer, extreme temperatures and high winds have sparked wildfires in new areas, even as firefighters tracked the crisis across the mainland, the Northern Territory and the island of Tasmania.


Ben Doherty and agencies
Thu 21 Nov 2019 17.23 EST

Record-breaking spring temperatures helped spark and fan bushfires across the country on Thursday.

In Victoria, 100km/h winds fanned more than 60 fires as an unprecedented heatwave moved north to south, drawing comparisons with the “worst conditions you’d see in February or March” from the state’s emergency services minister, Lisa Neville.


Melbourne’s maximum temperature of 40.9C [105.6F] matched the 1894 record for the hottest November day. Laverton was the hottest place in Victoria at 44.3C [111.7F].


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