AUSTRALIA

Striking videos of Australian wildfires

 Firefighters are battling multiple major wildfires in southeastern Australia, where authorities fear two of them could merge together to create a “mega-fire”. Many local residents have captured the blazes on camera.

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Firefighters are battling multiple major wildfires in southeastern Australia, where authorities fear two of them could merge  to create a “mega-fire”. Many local residents have captured the blazes on camera.

 

The fires have so far destroyed 200 homes in the area of Springwood in New South Wales, and many others have been damaged. Hundreds of people have been evacuated. Weather conditions are expected to worsen on Tuesday and Wednesday, which could lead to more evacuations. Firefighters are being drafted in from other states to try to contain the blazes and keep them away from populated areas by setting off controlled burns.

 

This dramatic video was filmed by a firefighter, who was wearing a GoPro camera on his helmet.

 

Video by Jonathan Mallin of Blackheath / Mt Victoria Rural Fire Brigade.

 

 

Another video filmed by a firefighter, just metres away from the fire:

 

 

 

 

This video shows firefighters battling the blaze in Lithgow, one of the worst-hit towns:

 

 

 

A local resident filmed a fire’s aftermath near the town of Doyalson:

 

 

 

A local resident filmed a fire’s aftermath near the town of Doyalson:

 

 

"I've cleared away anything that could catch fire if embers land near my house"

Our Observer Richard Chirgwin lives in Wentworth Falls, where he rents out cottages to vacationers.

 

I’ve spent all day preparing for the possibility of the fire reaching us. Right now, one of the fires is just 5-10 kilometres away. I’ve raked a massive amount of leaves, taken out leaves from my cottages’ rain gutters - basically cleared away anything that could catch fire if embers land here. I’ve also had to cut down some trees that were too close to the buildings.

 

We’ve had big fires here before, but what’s different this time is that they’ve come early – usually, the fires come in the summer months [which in Australia is December-February]. But we’ve had an unusually warm and dry past few months. It seems this has taken many people here by surprise.

 

"I had to flee my house with my young son"

Julia Harris, a blogger, lives in Springwood, where 200 homes were already burnt down last week:

 

Our home was under threat four days ago when I had to flee with my young son. We were able to return, but it is now again under threat as the fire has grown and spread substantially throughout the area.

 

The fires have affected my family's life immensely - our car is packed and ready to leave should we have to. We have a 'survival kit' next to our front door, and appropriate clothing laid out ready to go. Our four children can no longer go to school, as it has closed, and the smoke is too thick outside for them to go out and play. They are all very anxious. During the day we have also had constant water-bombing from helicopters overhead, some power interruptions and constant sounds of sirens.

 

One of my good friends here lost her home. Our church and community have assisted the family to help them find accommodation. It is devastating - in my 35 years living here, I have never seen anything like this. However, there are many fundraising initiatives already being planned to help all those who have lost all their belongings to the fire.