The state of play: American firefighters joined those in New South Wales and Victoria this week, along with the Australian Defense Force and some 3,000 Defense Force Reservists to help tackle fires that have killed at least 25 people this bushfire season.
In Victoria, a state of disaster declaration has been extended through midnight on Jan. 11, local time. Neville told reporters it would not be renewed after midnight due to fairer conditions.
- “We’re a long way from the end of this. We’re at only mid-January, and we’ve got a long way to go in terms of our fire season,” Neville said Saturday.
In New South Wales, there are roughly 147 bush and grass fires burning. 65 fires were uncontained as of 6 a.m. on Saturday, NSW Rural Fire Service said.
The impact: Since September, Australia’s bushfires have claimed the lives of 19 people in New South Wales, three in Victoria and three in South Australia, per Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
- About 25 million acres of land have burned, including 12 million in NSW, per News.com.au.
- 2,097 homes have been destroyed since Jan. 1, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service’s latest update.
The big picture: The intense heat has caused more than 20 firestorms or unusual thunderstorms partially fueled by heat from the flames within the past week, according to NASA, which notes that “strong winds from these storms can fan fires into raging infernos.” Smoke particles from the fires have spread east over the Pacific Ocean.
Editor’s note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.