Published: Thu, November 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australian PM Morrison denies climate link as bush-fire smoke chokes Sydney

Australian PM Morrison denies climate link as bush-fire smoke chokes Sydney

Video of the dramatic rescue Wednesday shows motorist Toni Doherty running from her vehicle to help the koala near Port Macquarie, New South Wales (NSW) as the catastrophic fires that have ravaged the state burn all around them. The koala was wrapped in blankets and hooked up to an oxygen mask - but was well enough to munch on the branches of eucalyptus placed by his bed.

A spokesperson from the hospital told the outlet that Lewis remains in serious condition and "is probably 50-50 at this stage". Lewis's hands and feet are completely burnt.

It's estimated that more than 350 koalas have died in the bushfires, according to CNN.

The koala hospital, some four hours north of Sydney, has rescued 31 koalas from the scorched bush in recent weeks, and said it had been "overwhelmed by the kindness, good wishes and support from the Australian and worldwide community".

The dog, named Bear, was trained at a local university to sniff out and save injured and diseased wild animals.

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The courts have granted him four weeks to receive treatment, though that can be extended pending medical advice. Upon clearance of all medical tests and doctors' recommendations, the air ambulance took off from the airport.

A total fire ban is in place for the entire state, with damaging winds and high pollen levels forecast along with temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius. But summer hasn't really even begun - and fears are growing that conditions will only get worse.

While the immediate threat was in the south on Wednesday, firefighters continued to battle around 100 fires that have been burning for several days across Australia's east coast.

As more people in the southeast of the country were told to evacuate their homes and schoolchildren in Sydney were again forced to play indoors, Morrison dismissed mounting calls for action.

With more than 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) of land scorched in the state, the fires have also destroyed large tracts of the tree-dwelling marsupial's habitat.

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