Australia

Australian bushfires hit coal output, hazardous conditions to return

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Mining giant BHP Group (BHP.AX) said on Tuesday that poor air quality caused by smoke from Australia’s bushfires is hurting coal production, as authorities said a reprieve from hazardous fire conditions would end within days.

The warning from the world’s biggest miner showed how an unusually long bushfire season that has scorched an area one-third the size of Germany is damaging the world’s No. 14 economy.

Australia’s tourism and insurance industries have already foreshadowed they face a A$1 billion ($687 million) hit each from the fires.

Fires set stage for irreversible forest losses in Australia

Sydney (AP) --- Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent.

Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers), an area about as big as Ohio.

Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames

Sydney (AP) --- Australia’s unprecedented wildfires season has so far charred 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers) of brushland, rainforests, and national parks — killing by one estimate more than a billion wild animals. Scientists fear some of the island continent’s unique and colorful species may not recover. For others, they are trying to throw lifelines.

Australia firefighters save world’s only rare dinosaur trees

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Specialist firefighters have saved the world’s last remaining wild stand of a prehistoric tree from wildfires that razed forests west of Sydney, officials said Thursday.

Firefighters winched from helicopters to reach the cluster of fewer than 200 Wollemi Pines in a remote gorge in the Blue Mountains a week before a massive wildlife bore down, National Parks and Wildlife Service Director David Crust said.

Expert calls for Australian bushfire demarcation line

CANBERRA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- An expert has called for a bushfire demarcation line to be established in South Australia to identify high-risk areas not suitable for human habitation.

Sukhbir Sandhu, an expert in sustainability from the University of South Australia (UniSA), recently said Australia should establish a "fire-line" similar to SA's existing Goyder Line of rainfall, which maps areas unsuitable for planting crops.

Australian wildfire smoke stokes health fears in cities

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Fire alarms have been sounding in high-rise buildings across downtown Sydney and Melbourne as dense smoke from distant wildfires confuse electronic sensors. Modern government office blocks in the Australian capital Canberra have been closed because the air inside is too dangerous for civil servants to breathe.

The sun has glowed an eerie red behind a brown shrouded sky for weeks over Australian metropolitan areas that usually rank high in the world’s most livable cities indexes.

Australian 'megablaze' brought under control

Sydney, Jan 13 (AFP/PTI) Exhausted firefighters said they had finally brought Australia's largest "megablaze" under control on Monday, as wet weather promised to deliver much-needed respite for countryside ravaged by bushfires.

New South Wales firefighters said they finally had the upper hand in the fight against the vast Gospers Mountain fire on Sydney's northwestern outskirts, which has been burning out of control for almost three months.

Australian prime minister's approval rating goes up in flames

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Public support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slumped to its lowest levels amid widespread anger over his government’s handling of Australia’s bushfire crisis, according to a survey released by Newspoll on Monday.

At least 28 people have been killed in the fires that have destroyed 2,000 homes, and razed 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres), nearly half the area of the United Kingdom

Australian PM Takes Major Polling Hit Amid Bushfires

CANBERRA, Jan 13 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, suffered a blow to his approval rating, amid the ongoing bushfire crisis.

According to the latest news poll, which was published on Sunday night, The Australian revealed that, Morrison’s popularity plunged, since he became prime minister in 2018.

It was found that Morrison’s net approval rating, which is calculated by subtracting his dissatisfaction rating from his satisfaction rating, has fallen from negative three in Dec, to negative 22.

Mental Health Funding For Bushfire Victims Announced By Australian PM

CANBERRA, Jan 13 (NNN-AGENCIES) – The Australian Government, announced 76 million Australian dollars (52.4 million U.S. dollars) in funding, for mental health services in bushfire-affected communities.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that, the funding would cover free counselling sessions, health consultations and rebates for 10 psychological therapy sessions, via Medicare, Australia’s universal public healthcare system.

“These bushfires have been unprecedented in their scale, coverage and duration,” he said.

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