Australian news, and some related international items

Massive fires merge across the New South Wales – Victoria border

Southern Highlands blaze flares as two massive fires merge in Snowy Valley  SMH, By Megan GorreyMatt Bungard and Megan Levy

 January 11, 2020 —  Two fires straddling the NSW and Victorian border have merged, creating a 600,000-hectare “mega-fire” south of the Snowy Mountains, as a separate blaze in the Southern Highlands flared to emergency warning level amid dangerous and erratic conditions early on Saturday.

Dry heat, shifting winds and powerful gusts fanned more than 100 blazes devouring drought-parched bushland throughout southern NSW overnight, as the East Ournie Creek and the Dunns Road fire zones came together north of Mount Kosciuszko on Friday evening, near the village of Tooma.

Meantime, the Morton fire in the Southern Highlands near Bundanoon was upgraded to emergency warning level about 1am on Saturday as north and north-westerly winds gave way to a strong southerly change. ……

North and north-westerly winds gave way to a southerly change overnight, which combined with merging fires, provided additional challenges from multiple entry points. Mr Clark said they were “expecting fires to potentially spread in two directions overnight”.

“What we’re really seeing with a number of these fires merging is a number of small fires started by lightning strikes, across the landscape. And as they grow, we see fires merging,”  RFS spokesman Anthony   Clark said.

“It provides a challenge for firefighters as when they merge, it increases the size and opens up more uncontained perimeter.”

Early on Saturday, more than 2500 firefighters were battling 147 blazes in NSW, as the bushfires crisis escalated across four states. More than 60 of those NSW fires were uncontained.

Residents were also fleeing fire fronts tearing through parts of eastern Victoria and Kangaroo Island off South Australia, where crews faced rising winds, bone-dry bushland and blistering temperatures. Also homes in Perth were under threat…….

Winds gusting up to 90km/h swept through the state later in the evening. Temperatures soared past 40 degrees in inland areas, while the RFS warned large blazes in the south-east could spread under worsening conditions, or shoot off embers that might create spot fires.

The blustery conditions were expected to bring mixed fortunes for firefighters overnight – dropping temperatures on the ground while making blazes more unpredictable after dark……

January 11, 2020 - Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, Victoria

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