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Australia Suffers From Heat And Fuel Wildfires

The fires coincided with the formation of Cyclone Owen in the Coral Sea

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Queensland, Australia, Hindu
FILE - A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Heat and wind on Monday were fuelling over 110 forest fires that have been burning for two weeks in Australia, where the authorities have also been alerted to a tropical cyclone off the coast.

The Queensland Bureau of Meteorology, Australia has also issued a severe storm warning for the state, reports Efe news.

“Damaging to destructive winds, large to giant hail and heavy rainfall are all possible. Storms may affect current fires burning in the area,” the bureau said on Twitter.

At least one person has died from the fires in the state of Queensland, where more than 527,000 hectares have been razed.

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Tire tracks left by a truck can be seen in a drought-stricken paddock on Kahmoo Station property, located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

One of the areas that most concerns firefighters is North Stradbroke island, near Queensland’s capital Brisbane, where it is feared flames could jump to the nearby Russell and Macleay islands.

“Our greatest area of concern is still North Stradbroke Island in the south-east, just off Brisbane. We were expecting high winds today to impact that already dynamic fire,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Michael Wassing told the media.

The centre of Queensland is another area that has been of concern to the fire department, which has alerted the population of Captain Creek, located 467 km from Brisbane, to prepare for evacuation.

Climate change, Australia
The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation’s top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Georgia. VOA

In the same region, firefighters urged several more communities to stay informed, and asked evacuees last week to refrain from returning home as conditions remain extremely dangerous.

The fires coincided with the formation of Cyclone Owen in the Coral Sea, more than 900 km from Cairns, in the north of Queensland, Australia

Also Read: California Wildfire Almost Completely Controlled: Authorities

While the cyclone is projected to weaken, it is expected to cause rain on Wednesday in several areas of the state’s central coast. (IANS)

Next Story

Great Barrier Reef Faces Australian Floods Dirty Water

The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.

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The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind. Pixabay

Dirty water from a flood crisis in north Australia has spread to parts of the Great Barrier Reef, placing it under stress, scientists have said. The floods are the result of weeks of devastating rain in Queensland. Some regions experienced the equivalent of a year’s rainfall in 10 days.

Aerial pictures show that run-off from one river has blanketed some reef areas more than 60 kilometres from shore, the BBC reported on Friday.

The UN calls the Great Barrier Reef, located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, the “most biodiverse” of all the World Heritage sites, and of “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance”.

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The floods are the result of weeks of devastating rain in Queensland. Pixabay

Scientists fear the sediment-laden waters may be blocking out light and effectively “smothering” coral.

In recent weeks, run-off from several rivers has coalesced to affect an approximately 600 kilometre stretch of the reef’s outer edges, scientists said. The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.

The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.

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Frederieke Kroon from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said the nutrient-rich water had also sparked algae growth in some areas, turning waters “a thick blanket of green”.

The reef is already facing threats to its survival such as coral bleaching caused by warmer sea temperatures. It has also been damaged by cyclones. (IANS)