Australia grapples with intense heat amidst bushfire threatstext_fields
Australia's southeastern region is experiencing a severe heat wave, elevating the risk of bushfires. This has prompted authorities to declare fire bans for extensive areas in New South Wales.
According to the nation's weather forecasters, temperatures in certain areas could be up to 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average. The capital of New South Wales, Sydney, is expected to reach 36°C (96.8°F).
At Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport, the temperature had already reached 28°C (82.4°F) at 10 a.m. (2300 GMT), which is more than five degrees above the mean maximum temperature for September, reported Reuters.
Australia is currently facing an increased risk of bushfires due to the onset of an El Niño weather event. El Niño is typically associated with extreme weather events such as wildfires, cyclones, and droughts.
Jihad Dib, the State Emergency Services Minister, noted that the "scorching" heat has heightened the bushfire risk for the upcoming week. He pointed out that the combination of high temperatures, dry conditions, and strong winds creates a dangerous environment for fires.
In response to the heightened fire risk, fire authorities have issued nine total fire bans for various parts of the state, aiming to reduce the chances of bushfires.
Australia has witnessed relatively quiet fire seasons in the last two years compared to the catastrophic "Black Summer" of bushfires in 2019-2020. During that devastating period, bushfires ravaged an area equivalent to the size of Turkey and claimed the lives of 33 people.