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Australian Skies Turn Red As Thousands Evacuated To Survive Bushfires

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 31 Dec 2019 09:41
Australian Skies Turn Red As Thousands Evacuated To Survive BushfiresAustralian Skies Turn Red As Thousands Evacuated To Survive Bushfiresbluesfestblues/Twitter/brenanh_au/Twitter

Thousands of people in Victoria have had to move to a beach to escape the devastating bushfires that are still raging in Australia.

As concerned residents escaped to the relative safety of the beach in order to avoid the flames, which were spreading dangerously close to their homes, the skies were lit with an intense, almost apocalyptic red glow.

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Around 4,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes and shelter on a beach in Mallacoota, a holiday town in the East Gippsland district. It is estimated around 4,000 more were taking shelter in community shelters around the town.

Firefighters reportedly instructed those sheltering to get closer to the water if the situation got worse. While the firefighters positioned themselves between the beaches and the encroaching bushfires.

According to ABC News, the emergency-level bushfire has ‘burned through over 82,000 hectares so far.’

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Andrew Crisp, Victoria’s state emergency commissioner, said:

Mallacoota is currently under attack. It is pitch-black, it is quite scary… the community right now is under threat but we will hold our line and they will be saved and protected.

Crisp also told people not to visit East Grippsland, and those already there should leave as soon possible.

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One resident in Mallacoota, Mark Tregellas, said:

It was pitch black until about five minutes ago, now the sky is red, it’s starting to get embers coming out of the sky, the wind is coming directly at us from the west so everyone’s about as prepped and ready as they can be.

Looking towards the west from the boat ramp we just see a red glow. I can’t see any flames at the moment. And it’s only at this stage just the odd ember that’s coming down, so only just spotted two or three that have been coming from the area.

Another person sheltering on the beach told ABC News they have lifejackets on already, in case they need to jump into the sea if the flames reach the beach.

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Eight bushfires across New South Wales (NSW) are currently burning at an emergency level, with a similar number in Victoria and two on the island of Tasmania. After around three months of unremitting fires, at least 12 people have died as a result.

Volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul, 28, was one of the victims. McPaul sadly died when a ‘fire tornado’ flipped his truck off the ground as he was attending a bushfire near Albury, south NSW.

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison said:

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As 2019 draws to a close, the devastating impact of these terrible bushfires continues.

Victoria’s state emergency commissioner Andrew Crisp has suggested those who are evacuating their homes should register themselves on Register.Find.Reunite, an emergency service operated by the Australian Red Cross.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: News, Australia, Beaches, Bushfires, Fire, Sky, Victoria

Credits

ABC News and 1 other
  1. ABC News

    Bushfires in Victoria and NSW ripping through communities including Mallacoota, Batemans Bay and Cobargo, live blog

  2. Metro

    Thousands flee to beaches as raging wildfires turn Australia red and block out sun