Residents Warned To Evacuate As Two Large Bushfires Are Set To Merge
Authorities in Australia are warning residents to evacuate their homes, with two large fires expected to merge over the coming days, creating one enormous blaze.
People living close to the border of Victoria and New South Wales have been told to move quickly if they are to get out in time.
Corryong Fire Incident Controller Leith McKenzie told the media that authorities are working around the clock to keep people safe.
However, he warned that if the fires in Corryong (Victoria) and Tumbarumba (New South Wales) continue to follow expectations, they could 'suck each other in'.
Fire Spread Prediction for Sat 4 Jan 2020
Dangerous fires in Shoalhaven, South Coast, Snowy Mountains & areas surrounding Greater Sydney. You should not be in potential spread areas or potential ember attack areas on Saturday. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/Ry14FXgPR2
- NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 3, 2020
He said: "The areas between Corryong, Tumbarumba and Khancoban, there's a large fire that came through Tumbarumba, so there's a gap in there where there's a large area... If these two fires get to roll, they will suck each other in.
"So, the people in that area have got to realise... if that happens, that is really an incredible type of fire.
"We've really got to work hard with the community to get the message out there, and that's the police and the CFA door-knocking and trying to do that kind of thing now."
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Mr Leith went on to explain the sheer scale of the evacuation.
"We had a convoy come out of Corryong last night of over 120 vehicles, we were expecting 60; that's the kinds of logistics that we are dealing with. That's incredible... some of those were residents... we've had most of the tourists out."
Authorities have issued a warning to residents in Biggara, Towong, Towong Upper, Tintaldra and Walwa to evacuate immediately.
This comes after news broke that at least 19 people and around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have died in the bushfires since September.
Science for Wildlife executive director Dr Kellie Leigh told the New South Wales upper house inquiry: "We're getting a lot of lessons out of this and it's just showing how unprepared we are.
"There's no procedures or protocols in place - even wildlife carers don't have protocols for when they can go in after fire."
Many species have been affected in Australia - which is home to various indigenous fauna including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats and echidnas - but koalas are feared to be among the hardest hit, with an estimated 30 percent of just one koala colony on the country's northeast coast thought to be lost.
There are concerns that many wildlife communities will need human assistance to get populations anywhere close to where they were before the bushfires.
Featured Image Credit: PA