WBecause of the devastating bush fires in Australia, the authorities have declared a seven-day state of emergency for the metropolis of Sydney and the state of New South Wales. The reason is the “catastrophic weather conditions”, said the head of state of the state, Gladys Berejiklian. For parts of the state of New South Wales, temperatures of around 45 degrees were predicted for Thursday, in the capital Sydney even 46 degrees from Saturday.
A new nationwide temperature record was reached on Tuesday on the fifth continent. For the next few days, the meteorological authority even predicted an intensification of the heat wave on Wednesday. The heat record was set on Tuesday at 40.9 degrees in the national average, so far the record had been 40.3 degrees in January 2013.
Unusually early and violent
A particularly large fire continues to rage north of Australia's largest city, Sydney, and its clouds of smoke envelop the metropolis. Because of the toxic fumes, doctors speak of a “public health emergency”.
The bushfire season in Australia had started exceptionally early and violently this year. In the past few weeks, at least three million hectares of land have been burned down nationwide, six people have been killed by the fires and around 700 houses have been destroyed.
Scientists attribute the unusually early and violent fires to climate change, which has caused severe drought in many areas. The Australian government is therefore increasingly exposed to accusations of inaction in the fight against global warming.