Thousands swarmed to beaches on Australia’s east coast on Tuesday to escape fierce wildfires bearing down on several seaside towns, as the government readied naval vessels and military helicopters to aid firefighting and evacuations.
Government officials called for Australian military support and assistance from U.S. and Canadian fire crews as authorities confirmed two people had died overnight, taking to 11 the total deaths in wildfires since the beginning of October.
The huge bushfires have destroyed more than 4 million hectares (10 million acres), with new blazes sparked into life almost daily by extremely hot and windy conditions in bushland left tinder dry after a three-year drought.
Thousands of people had to take refuge from wildfires on a beach in southeast Australia on Tuesday morning, having fled their homes as fires swept through the town. https://t.co/6icnZV4eIN
— CNN (@CNN) December 31, 2019
As many as four thousand people are trapped on the foreshore of the encircled seaside town of Mallacoota, as smoke turned day to night.😢
people have been forced to flee and seek shelter on the beach.#Tiredearth #AustraliaBurns #AustraliaFires #Australiabushfires #ClimateChange pic.twitter.com/onHCFS5IQu
— Rebecca Herbert (@RebeccaH2020) December 31, 2019
— Daniel Schneider (@BiologistDan) December 31, 2019
“A mother took this photo. Her two primary school aged sons are in the boat with her.
They’re out on the #Mallacoota lake trying to stay safe from fire, it doesn’t look like it – but it’s daytime.” ~ABC Gippsland.#bushfirecrisis #vicfires #NSWfires #Bushfires #bushfiresVIC pic.twitter.com/CqA1FgMM02
— Fiona Bateman (@feebateman) December 31, 2019