Bushfires push Australian region in state of emergency
Posted on: 11:13 AM IST Oct 21, 2013
Australian region of New South Wales is in a state of emergency following over 56 bushfires burning across the state, of which 12 are reportedly out of control.
Authorities warned of an "unparallelled fire emergency" and a "potential mega-fire" across hundreds of kilometres, media reports said on Monday.
Huge fires were seen in Blue Mountains at Lithgow, Springwood and Mount Victoria, about which the officials were worried the most as they were being seen as a merging lot.
The State Mine fire near Lithgow had burned nearly 40,000 hectares and was also being looked at with a serious concern. RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said he expected it would connect with Mount Victoria fire. Firefighters had spent a night to build containment lines ahead of the predicted hot and windy weather.
Evacuations have already started, with residents in some of the affected areas been told to leave ahead of the predicted bad weather conditions over the coming days. According to reports, a total of 56 bushfires were burning across the state and 12 are out of control.
Premier Barry O'Farrell said the emergency declaration gives authorities additional powers for the next 30 days, including the right to order the public to leave areas and cutting gas and power supplies if needed.
"We're planning for the worst but hoping for the best," O'Farrell said. He said no one wanted to force people to abandon there homes, but it could be necessary to ensure everyone's safety.
"We know there is understandable heartache about leaving property perhaps vulnerable. But if it's a choice between property or lives we should always go for lives," he said.