'Leave now': Australians urged to evacuate as 'catastrophic' fires loom

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 11, 2019 - Duration: 01:26s

'Leave now': Australians urged to evacuate as 'catastrophic' fires loom

Authorities in Australia's New South Wales and Queensland states have declared a state of emergency as the country's eastern region prepared for "catastrophic" fire conditions.

Joe Davies reports.


'Leave now': Australians urged to evacuate as 'catastrophic' fires loom

Authorities in Australia have declared a state of emergency in New South Wales and Queensland as the country continues to grapple with catastrophic bush fires.

On Monday (November 11), New South Wales' fire service commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, urged residents in areas at risk to evacuate.

Unprecedented hot and windy conditions are expected on Tuesday, which it's feared will fan the fires already burning.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW SOUTH WALES RURAL FIRE SERVICE COMMISSIONER, SHANE FITZSIMMONS, SAYING: "We cannot guarantee a fire truck at every home.

We cannot guarantee an aircraft will be overhead every time a fire is impacting on your property.

We cannot guarantee that someone will knock on the door and give you a warning that there's fires nearby and we certainly cannot guarantee that despite our best effort, the technological tools available will deliver you a message in time." Bush fires are common for Australia's hot, dry summers - but the current outbreak, well before the summer peak, has caught many by surprise.

Over the weekend, three people were killed and more than 150 homes destroyed in New South Wales and Queensland.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) RAINBOW FLAT RESIDENT PETER IVERSON, SAYING: "It's only things.

It's only things we got family and we've got our lives and we've got great neighbors and great friends.

They'll all rally together." Among the places authorities say is under catastrophic fire danger on Tuesday (November 12) is Sydney.

Lawmakers said the state of emergency - which gives firefighters powers to control government resources, force evacuations, close roads and shut down utilities - would remain in place for seven more days.

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