Two Bushfires Merge In Australia To Create Huge Blaze
Two bushfires in Australia have joined to create one enormous blaze, threatening the lives of those living close by.
According to reports, the East Ournie Creek and Dunns Road fires, close to the Victoria border, were upgraded to watch and act level yesterday.
However, by midday, the temperatures had reached 37C and the two fires had merged.
Once combined, the two fires covered around half-a-million hectares, which equates to around the same size as the country's capital city of Canberra.
And it doesn't appear as though things are set to improve, with the Rural Fire Service warning of 'erratic behaviour', which means the flames could potentially move and change direction very quickly.
The blaze has already reached some towns, including Kunama, Wondalga, Talbingo, and Batlow.
And those living in the Goobragandra Valley, Mannus, Mundaroo, Ournie, Brindebella, and Tooma have been urged to been told to be ready to evacuate.
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The Rural Fire Service says: "If you are in the area south of Tumbarumba to Khancoban, and west of the Kosciuszko National Park, you should leave early. Do not be in the path of these fires."
While, speaking about the fires that are currently sweeping across the country, RFS Commissioner Shayne Fitzsimmons said: "The conditions are difficult because we'll see hot temperatures, high 30s, low 40s. It's the hot, dry winds that will prove once again to be the real challenge.
"We want people out, into safer places and the maps identify a number of towns and villages where you would better off going for the day and not being in harm's way.
"The firegrounds are going to be tested and, as we have seen in the last couple of months, we only need an ember or two to get out to start an outbreak and start presenting challenges."
Earlier this week, new figures were produced which showed the true extent of the devastation caused by the bushfires, suggesting that the number of animals that have been killed by the bushfires has exceeded one billion.
Chris Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney, said that his original figure of 480 million animals was conservative - and only included those in the state of New South Wales (NSW).
Speaking to Huffington Post, he said: "The original figure - the 480m - was based on mammals, birds and reptiles for which we do have densities, and that figure now is a little bit out of date. It's over 800m given the extent of the fires now - in New South Wales alone.
"If 800m sounds a lot, it's not all the animals in the firing line."
Featured Image Credit: PA