Sydney, Australia, Oct 31 (EFE).- The bush fires burning in northeastern Australia flared up on Tuesday amid “extreme” heat and strong winds, mainly in the rural town of Tara, where two people died and more than 50 homes were burned.
Bushland after being destroyed by bushfires near the town of Tara, Queensland, Australia, 31 October 2023. EFE-EPA/DARREN ENGLAND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
In Tara, located about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Brisbane and with a population of 3,800, the fire burning for more than a week “is erratic, burning without control and is not contained,” said Warren Buckley, a representative of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, public broadcaster ABC reported.
A view of damage at a property after being destroyed by bushfires near the town of Tara, Queensland, Australia, 31 October 2023. EFE-EPA/DARREN ENGLAND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
The Queensland authorities issued a maximum emergency alert for Tara, where temperatures reached 37 degrees, as well as neighboring towns, asking residents to leave the area.
The “difficult” situation in this rural area, where the number of burned homes rose from 44 to 56, could trigger greater damage to properties amid a worsening situation, the mayor of Western Downs, Paul McVeigh, said.
A “watch and act” warning has been issued by the Queensland authorities in several parts of western Brisbane, urging residents to prepare to evacuate.
“It is very tragic. Once again I ask people in the areas affected by the fires to follow the advice of the authorities. It is a difficult period, and it is going to be a difficult (austral) summer,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Tuesday.
Australia’s last two fire seasons have been quiet compared to the catastrophic “Black Summer” of 2019–2020 when hundreds of bushfires destroyed an area the size of Turkey and claimed 33 lives.
Australia, whose wildfire season normally begins on the east coast in November, will face drier-than-usual weather this year due to El Niño, a natural phenomenon caused by currents in the Pacific Ocean, which exacerbated by global warming, could lead to devastating disasters. EFE