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Home » IANS » 2 firefighters among 3 dead in Australia bushfires (Lead)

2 firefighters among 3 dead in Australia bushfires (Lead)

By IANS
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Sydney, Dec 20 (IANS) Australian authorities said on Friday that three people, including two volunteer firefighters, have died and about a dozen others were injured in incidents related to the blazing bushfires across the country, aggravated by a powerful heatwave.

The latest death was reported from the state of South Australia, where another person was reported missing while four firefighters and three police officers were injured – sustaining burns or being affected by smoke inhalation, reports Efe news.

Authorities were struggling to contain the state’s 120 active hotspots.

The two other fatalities occurred late Thursday near Buxton, about 100 km southwest of Sydney, when the firefighters’ truck overturned after crashing into a tree, the New South Wales State Rural Fire Service reported.

The firefighters were battling the fire at Green Wattle Creek, which burned scores of homes Thursday and posed a grave threat to the surroundings of the country’s largest city.

The latest casualties raise the fires’ death toll in New South Wales to eight since July.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his condolences Friday for the deaths of firefighters and said their sacrifice to save lives and property would be “forever remembered”.

“I express my sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the firefighters who have so tragically been killed overnight. They were bravely defending their communities with an unmatched spirit and a dedication that will forever set them apart amongst our most courageous Australians,” Morrison said in a statement.

The accident occurred shortly after New South Wales authorities declared a state of emergency due to a heatwave that caused the average Wednesday temperature across Australia to reach 41.9 degrees Celsius, the second new record this week.

On Friday, temperatures were expected at about 40 degrees in most of the country, however, authorities expect the brunt of the heatwave to be felt Saturday, with the maximum temperature expected to touch 47 degrees in New South Wales.

“These fires and heat conditions are horrendous, and there are still difficult days ahead,” said Morrison, who has been subject to much criticism for going on vacation to Hawaii amid the bushfire crisis in the country.

He has also been lambasted for not dealing with the effects of the pollution caused by the smoke, as well as his pro-coal energy policy and lack of a climate plan.

The fires have also resulted in evacuation orders in the state of Victoria, where various areas, including the city of Melbourne, have been covered in smoke emitted by the wildfires in New South Wales.

–IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Newsd staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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