More than 100 bushfires ravage eastern Australia

  10 September 2019    Read: 1001
More than 100 bushfires ravage eastern Australia

Fire season arrives early in Australia as more than 100 bushfires ravage tens of thousands of hectares in two eastern states.

Hundreds of people have fled their homes as more than 100 bushfires devastate parts of Australia. In Queensland, 85 fires have destroyed or damaged 84 homes.

At least eight fires are thought to be suspicious and police are speaking to a number of teenagers and children in relation to one of those fires.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katrina Carroll said: "Some of the fires have involved children playing and obviously the consequences are dire as a result of that and...some of them have been purposeful and malicious.

"The consequences of some of these fires are dire. People can die. Buildings and residences are being destroyed."

At least 400 people are in evacuation centres in the state, according to Queensland premier Jackie Trad, but there are no reports of deaths.

In New South Wales, there are about 52 fires and nine properties have been confirmed destroyed, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Eighteen of these fires are uncontained.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service spokesman Ben Shepherd said that wind gusts in excess of 80kmph (49mph) were expected, which would make fighting the fires more difficult.

He said: "With those kinds of winds, the work that we've done overnight...those winds are going to put pressure on those containment lines."

Tens of thousands of hectares have been destroyed by the fires in both states. Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall said winds were expected to pick up on Tuesday.

"Today [Tuesday], we've obviously got pretty demanding conditions once again, tomorrow is perhaps a smidgen better, but still fairly windy conditions around," he told ABC Radio Brisbane.

"But late tomorrow and into Thursday the winds really do drop out and become fairly light, so that will hopefully be a good day for getting on top of those fires still causing problems."

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said on Monday: "I think we are through the worst of it, but we still have a couple of days to go before it really starts to cool down."

Bushfires are a regular problem in Australia but these ones are earlier in the year than usual.

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