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Photo: A bushfire at Llanilo, western Sydney, 2016. (Twitter: @FRNSW)
12 Feb 2022

Bushfire season has started in Australia - firefighters died on duty

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About 1,000 firefighters have been managing four fires which were raised to  an emergency risk level over the weekend in southern parts of the state of Western Australia. 

At least five homes have been destroyed and 60,000 hectares involved  in one of the most challenging bushfire periods in recent history, according to an article on The Guardian on February 7th.  

One the state’s fire and emergency services commissioner has linked recent events to climate change.

“I don’t recall a time where we’ve had four level-three bushfires occurring at the same time as well as dealing with a state of emergency around a pandemic,” DFES commissioner Darren Klemm said.

“So it’s particularly challenging from a resourcing point of view.”

The Shackleton fire in the eastern wheatbelt has burned through about 40,000 hectares and at one point spanned 35 km (About 20 miles).

Conditions have eased since Sunday, when wind gusts of up 85km/h (55 miles per hour) prevented firefighters from operating large air tankers, but the fire was still not contained in the early parts of the week. 

Perth has suffered  its hottest January on record and town of Onslow experienced more than 50 degrees C.  

The power company Western Power said Monday said it was working to restore power to about 13,800 customers across the grid. Most of the addresses without power  were in the metropolitan region.

About 600 homes in Bridgetown and 400 in Denmark  remained without power as late as February 7. 

 

One firefighter dead and several injured

The bushfires started already earlier in January, and according to another article in eth Guardian, one firefighter died and another was  seriously injured after a tree collapsed on a fire truck on scene at a bushfire in South Australia’s south-east, in the third week of January, 

The incident occurred at at Coles, near Lucindale, where the fire  was tearing through bluegum plantations, scrub and grassland, a spokeswoman for the state’s Country Fire Service said.

 

Bushfires complicating already difficult lockdown restrictions

While Europe and parts of North America is currently starting to open up after the pandemic restrictions,  Australia is still deep in lockdown restrictions. According to a BBC article on February 3rd, hundreds of Australians have fled to evacuation centres due to bushfire on the outskirts of the locked-down city of Perth. 

The fire is the  the largest the city has seen in years -and has burnt through 9,000 hectares and destroyed 71 homes. Six firefighters have suffered injuries.

The Western Australia (WA) capital is in the middle of a coronavirus lockdown, complicating safety advice messages for Perth's two million residents.

 

Photo Credit (above) Photo: A bushfire at Llanilo, western Sydney, 2016. (Twitter: @FRNSW)