Thousands of tourists risked being stranded in Australia’s south east Monday, as a new heatwave left firefighters across the country bracing for another round of potentially catastrophic bushfire.
Hundreds of blazes are burning across Australia, which is experiencing a devastating summer bushfire season fuelled by a prolonged drought and climate change.
More than 30,000 people were told to evacuate Victoria state’s popular East Gippsland region Sunday amid fears soaring temperatures and gusting winds would stoke three large blazes, cutting off the last major road still open.
Victoria Emergency Management commissioner Andrew Crisp said residents and holidaymakers still in the area faced being stranded as it was now “too late to leave”, with his agency warning it was “not possible” to provide aid to all visitors in the area.
Neighbouring South Australia is experiencing “catastrophic” fire conditions in some areas as temperatures reach above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and storms bring damaging winds.
The Country Fire Service’s Brenton Eden said it would be a “very dangerous” day for people in the state, with lightning already sparking a number of blazes.
“Winds are gusting and unfortunately this is a dry lightning front that is going to move rapidly across South Australia,” he told national broadcaster ABC.
Conditions are also expected to deteriorate over the next two days in worst-hit New South Wales, where 100 fires were burning Monday morning including more than 40 uncontained.
This season’s bushfires have killed 10 people, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and scorched more than three million hectares (7.4 million acres) — an area bigger than Belgium.
Sydney and other major cities have been shrouded in toxic bushfire smoke haze for weeks, forcing children to play indoors and causing professional sporting events to be cancelled.
The crisis has focused attention on climate change — which scientists say is creating a longer and more intense bushfire season — and sparked street protests calling for immediate action to tackle global warming.
While conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison belatedly acknowledged a link between the fires and climate change, he has continued his staunch support of Australia’s lucrative coal mining industry and ruled out further action to reduce emissions.
A petition to cancel Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks and use the money to fight bushfires ringing the city has topped 270,000 signatures, but officials say the show will go on.
Sydney has spent Aus$6.5 million ($4.5 million) on this year’s fireworks display — funds that the Change.org petition argues would be better spent on supporting volunteer firefighters and farmers suffering through a brutal drought.
Singer and songwriter pens ballad about ‘bunker boy Donald Trump’
Singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye, whose album "Love and Forgiveness" was named as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2013 by American Songwriter, has penned an epic ballot dedicated to President Donald Trump.
It was reported Sunday that Trump was rushed to the White House bunker on Friday evening as a few hundred protesters surrounded the building. As the weekend progressed, more and more protesters have come to stand in opposition to police violence and a White House they feel isn't doing enough to stop it.
Trump has tried to claim that he was really just "inspecting" the bunker, but it went down like a lead balloon.
Three right-wing ‘boogaloo’ militants arrested on terrorism charges in Las Vegas: report
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced that three far-right militants with ties to the "boogaloo" movement have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in Las Vegas, according to The Seattle Times.
"Federal prosecutors say the three white men with U.S. military experience are accused of conspiring to carry out a plan that began in April in conjunction with protests to reopen businesses closed because of the coronavirus and later sought to capitalize on protests over the death of a Minneapolis man in police custody," reported Michelle Price and Scott Sonner.
‘Showing off with these complete sentences’: Internet rejoices as ‘Real President’ Obama speaks – ‘I miss him’
Former President Barack Obama delivered forward-looking, encouraging remarks in response to the police killing of George Floyd and the ongoing nationwide protests, and the Internet rejoiced. President Obama's comments, part of a town hall organized by his My Brother's Keeper Alliance, were focused for his younger audience, and were short and seemingly off-the-cuff, yet inspired a nation thirsting for caring, intelligence, and leadership.
Take a look.
I Love President Barack Obama.