27
Monday
January 2020
3:10 AM IST
News Headlines
Padma Vibhushan for Jaitley, Sushma, Fernandes posthumously; Parrikar given Padma Bhushan        Coronavirus scare: Nearly 100 people under observation, PMO reviews India''s preparedness        China facing ''grave'' situation, says Xi as coronavirus death toll rises to 41        Quake kills 22 in Eastern Turkey        Nepal offers to play role of mediator between India and Pakistan        India can play Asia Cup matches at neutral venue, but call is ACC''s: PCB CEO Khan        South Africa crumble after Broad, Wood help England rack up 400        Hugo Boumous inspires FC Goa to a thrilling 3-2 win over Kerala Blasters FC in Hero ISL        Growth slowdown in India temporary, expect momentum to improve going ahead: IMF chief        SC refuses to entertain plea against imposition of NSA amid anti-CAA protests        'Batman' script is beautiful, dark and moving: Colin Farrell        Scriptwriting is underrated: Ayushmann Khurrana        Agarkar applies for national selector's job, frontrunner for chairman's post, Prasad in running too        Rahul relishing dual role, says staying behind stumps helps batting too        Samsung moves India chief HC Hong to Latin America        WEF 2020 meeting ends with hopes for better and cleaner economy        Sebi fines Scan Steels Rs 18.8 lakh for fraudulent trading        Italy threatens Facebook with new fine for selling users' data        Nepal says if India can resolve boundary issue with Bangladesh, why not Kathmandu        Houston building explosion shakes city, scatters debris        
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International News
'Mega fire' forms north of Sydney
 
Sydney: Several Australian bushfires have combined to form a "mega fire" that is burning out of control across a swathe of land north of Sydney, authorities said Friday, warning they cannot contain the blaze.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner, Rob Rogers said "there are probably more than eight fires in all" that have merged to form what has been dubbed a "mega fire" in an area of national park forest.

The blaze was burning across 300,000 hectares -- an area roughly 60 kilometres (37 miles) across -- within an hour's drive of Australia's largest city, which was again subsumed in a soup of toxic smoke.

"There is just fire that whole way" said Rogers, who added that firefighters could do little more than get any residents out, protect property and hope for an end to fire-friendly dry and windy conditions.

We "cannot stop these fires, they will just keep burning until conditions ease, and then we'll try to do what we can to contain them," he told public broadcaster ABC.

"The best thing we can do is try to protect property and people as much as we can." Prolonged drought has left much of eastern Australia tinder-dry and spot fires have raged every day for the past three months.

Bushfires are common in Australia but scientists say this year's season has come earlier and with more intensity due to a prolonged drought and climatic conditions fuelled by global warming.

Dramatic footage of firefighters running from a wall of fire ripping through the tree canopy above them was captured overnight in Orangeville, less than 100 kilometres west of Sydney.

The local fire and rescue team that shot the images said no one was injured and the vehicles surrounded by the swirling embers also survived the blaze.

"The video was put up to demonstrate why you need to listen to the fire advisory system," the team from Ingleburn fire station said on Facebook.

"If your property is not prepared for the bushfire season and your (sic) not sure you are able or capable of defending your property if a fire approaches you need to leave straight away," they warned.

At a wildlife park in the area, 300 animals were evacuated.

Walkabout Wildlife Park said it had shipped out lizards, dingoes, peacocks and marsupials, as firefighters battled more than 100 fires up and down the eastern seaboard.

"This fire has been doing some crazy things, so we have to be prepared," general manager Tassin Barnard told AFP.

New South Wales rural fire chief Shane Fitzsimmons said some US and Canadian firefighters had arrived to help out.

The specialists are expected to supervise waterbombing planes and heavy equipment used in creating fire containment lines.

"We are not only appreciative of their presence here today, but of their sacrifice," said Fitzsimmons -- who has become a fixture on Australian television screens for weeks, updating the public on blazes in towns, national parks and backwaters.

"They are volunteering to sacrifice time from loved ones, from families, to give up that special time of the year around Christmas and New Year to come down here and lend us a hand," he said.

More than 600 homes have been destroyed and six people have died since the crisis began in September.

That is many fewer than Australia's deadliest recent fire season in 2009 when almost 200 people died, but 2019's toll so far belies the scale of devastation.

An estimated two million hectares have burned -- the size of some small countries -- across a region spanning hundreds of kilometres (miles).

The fires have taken a toll in Sydney and other major cities, which have been blanketed in toxic smoke for weeks and occasionally sprinkled with snow-like embers.

Fitzsimmons said he could not "overstate the effect that this profound drought is having" as he warned of a long, painful summer ahead.

"There is an absolute lack of moisture in the soil, a lack of moisture in the vegetation... you are seeing fires started very easily and they are spreading extremely quickly, and they are burning ridiculously intensely.


China facing ''grave'' situation, says Xi as coronavirus death toll rises to 41
Quake kills 22 in Eastern Turkey
Nepal offers to play role of mediator between India and Pakistan
Italy threatens Facebook with new fine for selling users' data
Nepal says if India can resolve boundary issue with Bangladesh, why not Kathmandu
Houston building explosion shakes city, scatters debris
Lanka Prez Rajapaksa stays arrest of judge in tape controversy
Queen gives assent for Britain to leave EU
UN court orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide
Trump trial opens with clash over witnesses
Trump 'would have loved' to have met Thunberg at Davos
China''s ex-Interpol chief sentenced to over 13 years in prison for corruption
Thousands of missing persons during Lanka''s civil war are ''dead'': President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
China coronavirus: Death toll rises to 6 as leaders warn officials against cover up
IMF lowers 2019 India growth to 4.8 per cent
BBC boss Tony Hall to step down in six months
More than 80 soldiers killed in Yemen missile, drone attack
Indian school teacher undergoes treatment for Streptococcal infection in China
Putin's, Xi's ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West
Ukraine PM offers to resign after leaked recording
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
'Batman' script is beautiful, dark and moving: Colin Farrell
 Los Angeles: Hollywood actor Colin Farrell has revealed that the script of Matt Reeves' "The Batman"  
Scriptwriting is underrated: Ayushmann Khurrana
Abhishek Bachchan starts filming 'Bob Biswas'
Signed 'Radhe' for story and my character: Disha Patani
KERALA NEWS
Man killed with soil excavator
 Thiruvananthapuram: A 36-year-old man was killed with an excavator near here when he objected to a g
Delhi court extends ED custody of NRI bizman C C Thampi
Congress president restructures KPCC
Kerala Guv again criticises LDF govt for passing resolution in Assembly against CAA
NATIONAL NEWS
Padma Vibhushan for Jaitley, Sushma, Fernandes posthumously; Parrikar given Padma Bhushan
 New Delhi: Former union ministers Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and George Fernandes, Olympian boxer M
Govt will not allow universities to become political battlegrounds: Ramesh Pokhriyal
Maha phone tapping row hots up; Fadnavis rejects charge
Bru settlement: Tripura begins survey to identify beneficiaries
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