On Friday we reported the extreme heat Australians were experiencing and the threat of bush fires. Since then bushfires have swept over Tasmania, the island to the south of mainland Oz. The news is that people are missing.
At least a 100 homes in the small community of Dunalley, east of Hobart, have been destroyed by fire in Tasmania and many people remain at evacuation centres. In Dunalley the police station and school were resigned to the flames. Tasmania is the worst hit part of Australia at time of writing. A mixture of exisitng drought, high winds and extreme temperatures have resulted in fires.
One resident of Dunalley told ABC radio: "All I could do was drive the car out of the shed, drive across the other side of the road and stand back and look at the whole place just being engulfed in flames, just like a movie." reported the BBC..
There are reports that in Tasmania some people jumped into canals to save themselves and others spent the night on beaches. Local vessels have been used as part of the rescue effort. They have been delivering essential supplies and evacuating those residents deemed to be most at risk.
With one report today saying that a German woman had died on mainland Oz, after walking in the intense heat, reminders have been issued to protect safety as a priority. PM Gillard said,
Prime Minister Julia Gillard urged people to look after their personal safety. She told ABC: ''My message is there's only one you. Everything else in life, at the end of the day, no matter how precious, can be replaced." She added: "It's a very Australian thing to fear and also to understand the devastation of bushfire."
Although much of southern Australia continues to experience intense heat there are reports that the situation could ease if predictions of a fall in temperatures and slowing wind speeds comes to fruition.