Firefighter killed as massive bushfires rip through Australia

by Editorial Team

A volunteer firefighter in Australia died Monday morning and two others were injured as the race to stop the spread of dangerous bushfires rages.

Officials with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service believe a truck was overturned by high winds near Jingellic, on the border of Victoria, killing one firefighter and leaving two others with burns.

The unidentified volunteer is now the 10th person and third firefighter to die in the widespread blazes taking over the country.

As many as 40,000 people have been urged to evacuate as Victoria state’s Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp warned of “columns of fire.”

“There’s lightning coming out of these columns,” Crisp said Monday. “It is unpredictable, it’s dangerous out there.”

Bushfires have destroyed almost 10 million acres across Australia recently and the blazes are expected to continue — and possibly even strengthen — into the new year as temperatures push 105°F in some areas.

Officials in Sydney say they still plan to go ahead with the city’s world famous New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations, despite the risk of more fires and a petition signed by more than 270,000 people to instead give the money to farmers and firefighters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Sunday that volunteer firefighters who spend more than 10 days in the field will be paid up to about $4,000 for the additional work.

Up to 30% of the 28,000 koalas living along the New South Wales mid-north coast are feared dead as temperatures skyrocket and water becomes limited.


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