Australian authorities on Thursday called for another mass evacuation across the heavily populated southeast following a return of hot weather fanned huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews urged communities to be on alert ahead of the extreme conditions.
“If you receive instructions to leave, then you must leave,” Andrews said in a televised briefing. “That is the only way to guarantee your safety.”
Parts of Kangaroo Island, a wildlife-rich tourist spot off the southeast coast where Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday made a plea for foreign tourists not to be deterred by the fires, were again evacuated on Thursday.
Twenty-seven people have been killed this fire season, according to the federal government, as the monster fires have scorched through more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres) of land, an area the size of South Korea.
Thousands have been made homeless and thousands have had to evacuate repeatedly because of the volatility of the fires.
“It takes a huge amount of rain to put out bushfires of this intensity and of this scale. That’s not forecast,” South Australia Fire Chief Jones told reporters.
Weather officials in South Australia issued a severe weather warning for some parts of the state’s north.
Victoria State extended its disaster alert level for another two days.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported only 6 per cent of typical annual rainfall in 2019, while daytime temperatures were more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal.
New South Wales announced new funding of A$1 billion (686 million dollars) to rebuild.
The prime minister has pledged $2 billion (1.4 billion dollars) to a newly created National Bushfire Recovery Agency.
About 100 fire fighters from the U.S. and Canada are helping with another 140 expected in coming weeks.
The fires have emitted 400 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide and produced harmful pollutants, the EU’s Copernicus monitoring program said.