There is “no doubt” that climate change is increasing the risk of wild fires around the world, researchers said on Tuesday, as Australia’s government faces criticism for denying devastating bushfires are definitively linked to global warming.
Thousands of Australians took to the streets on Friday to protest against government failure on climate change, as bushfires ravage large swathes of the country, incinerating wildlife and massively polluting the air.
At least half of Australia's only disease-free koala population, a key "insurance" for the species' future, is feared dead, with more badly hurt after bush fires swept through an island sanctuary, rescuers said on Sunday.
Bushfires burned dangerously out of control on Australia’s east coast on Saturday, fanned by high temperatures and strong winds that had firefighters battling to save lives and property, as a change in wind conditions merged several large fire fronts.
Temperatures soared on Monday in Australia’s normally icy cool state of Tasmania, the country’s closest point to the South Pole, reaching more than double the summer average with hot air blowing in from a scorching mainland.
Some major roads heading to the south and west from Sydney were closed for part of the day and authorities asked people to delay travel at the start of the Christmas holiday period, warning of the unpredictability of the fires due to high winds and temperatures above 40°C, Reuters reported.