Australia’s ‘Apocalyptic fires

Australia’s ‘Apocalyptic’ Bushfire Crisis (Source Fires continue to ravage Australia as it suffers through an unprecedented fire season. Over 100 fires are burning across 13 million acres of land, an area much larger than Denmark. The fires have destroyed more than 1,300 homes and killed 18 people. With dozens of fires still out of control and weather conditions worsening, the death toll is expected to rise. On Monday, 28-year-old Samuel McPaul became the 10th firefighter to die when his 12-ton fire truck was lifted into the air and slammed down onto its roof by a fire tornado in New South Wales. The two colleagues with him escaped with severe burns and injuries. Another fire truck suffered the same fate, but its firefighters survived. The New South Wales fire commissioner described Monday’s condition as “truly horrific.” On Tuesday, to the south of New South Wales in Mallacoota, Victoria, fires trapped citizens before they had time to evacuate. Four thousand holiday-makers and locals took refuge on the beach, trapped by blazes that encircled them. Boat owners took to the water for safety; many others entered the water for protection from the ember showers and heat. Images from Mallacoota are eerie. Thick smoke has turned day into night, and the area is blanketed by a thick red haze. Mallacoota resident Francesca Winterson described the situation: “We are surrounded by red sky, choking dust and choking smoke, and embers falling on the town.” Authorities warn that the fires are causing extreme thunderstorms and “ember attacks.”

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