SYDNEY – At least 74 wildfires, 33 of them out of control, continued to burn on Friday in eastern Australia, a country that is undergoing one of its worst droughts in hundred years and where more than 575,000 hectares have already been lost to the flames since July.
A spokesperson for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service told EFE that between July 1 to Nov. 5, around 574,727 hectares had been burned, and although the figure was not updated, it had already exceeded the area that was consumed by fires in the previous two seasons put together.
The spokesperson stressed that the amount of land razed by fire since July 1, which already exceeds twice the size of Luxembourg, could further increase dramatically given that the fire season has just begun in Australia.
In 2018, the country recorded its third-hottest year ever.
This season, firefighters have been battling fires mainly in northern New South Wales, in the localities of Hillville – where more than 1,160 hectares of forest land have been charred – Torrington (18,000 hectares) and Crowdy Bay (2,000 hectares).
Firefighters in northern NSW are also preparing for an upsurge in adverse conditions on Friday, when temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius are expected in the city of Brisbane, whereas in Western Australia, temperatures are forecast to exceed 40 degrees in places such as Perth.
The fire season in Australia varies by area and weather conditions, although it usually occurs during the southern summer (between the months of December and March).
The worst fires in the Oceanic country in recent decades occurred in early February 2009 in the state of Victoria (southeast), causing 173 deaths and leaving 414 injured while burning an area of 4,500 square kilometers (1,737 square miles).