Published: Sat, November 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australian bushfires: Thousands have been forced to leave their homes

Australian bushfires: Thousands have been forced to leave their homes

Ms Colligan's home was consumed by flames late Friday, leaving her and her newborn homeless.

She warned the number could rise, and said the community must brace itself for worse to come. She was in absolute panic. "There's fire everywhere. I need the boys here now, '" Harwood told Nine Network television of their final phone call.

"Before I even got to tell her to just get out, she'd hung up on me".

The new mother and her son were able to escape the blaze, while her partner's parents stayed back to try and fight for their home and animals.

"It used to be God's country, but it ain't any more", said another neighbour, 72-year-old Dave Scott.

Mrs Chaplain was found unconscious and with serious burns.

Firefighters and paramedics gave her first aid and CPR for hours at the burned-out property until she could be rushed to hospital, but she died on Saturday morning.

Bushfires are common in Australia and a vast corps of firefighters had already been tackling sporadic blazes for months in the lead-up to the southern hemisphere summer.

Many people spent the night in evacuation centres while some slept in cars.

The fires are so fierce smoke has been seen 2000 kilometres away on New Zealand's South Island.

"We've simply never had this number of fires burn in North South Wales at the same time", NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said at a briefing Friday.

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He added that firefighters found a body in a burned vehicle near Glen Innes on Saturday.

There were 81 fires burning across the state on Saturday afternoon, 36 of them uncontained, with an emergency warning on four of them.

"The devastating and horrific fires that we have seen, particularly in New South Wales but also in Queensland, have been absolutely chilling", Morrison said.

A firefighter works as a bushfire, believed to have been sparked by a lightning strike that has ravaged an area of over 2,000 hectares in northern New South Wales state, burns in Port Macquarie on November 2, 2019.

Between two and five fires were burning at the highest danger rating Saturday.

"We can't rule out the really grave concerns that there could be more losses or indeed more fatalities as we get through and identify details across these fire grounds", he told reporters in Sydney.

The carers estimate at least 10 days will be needed to assess the full damage to the koala population.

Climate change is affecting all parts of the globe, and it appears to be the culprit for Australia's early fire season this year.

Residents at Buccan, south of Brisbane, were also urged to prepare to leave on Friday before fire crews got finally got the upper hand and contained the blaze.

But this was a dramatic start to what scientists predict will be a tough fire season - with climate change and weather cycles contributing to the unsafe combination of strong winds, high temperatures and dry conditions.

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