SYDNEY: A heatwave scorched Australia’s eastern coast and sent temperatures in Sydney to a three-year high on Saturday as firefighters battled runaway bushfires.
Many people crowded Sydney’s beaches or sought relief in the shade.
Authorities warned the most vulnerable, including the elderly and very young, to shelter in cool buildings.
Sydney city centre’s Observatory Hill weather station reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the afternoon — the hottest since November 2020, according to weather bureau data. In Richmond on Sydney’s far western fringes, the thermometer crept up to 43.8C (110.8F).
“Today, with the high heat levels, I do say that it’s a time to ensure that we look after each other and stay safe,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a news conference.
“Climate change is a threat to people’s health as well as to our environment and we need to acknowledge there’s a need for a comprehensive response.” More than 70 bushfires and grass fires burned across New South Wales, with over a dozen out of control in the late afternoon, the state’s rural fire service said.
“With very hot, dry and windy conditions, and total fire bans in place, know your risk and what you will do if threatened by fire,” the fire service said in a message on social media.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2023