Tourists urged to flee as Australian wildfires worsen


World News

January 2, 2020 - 10:06 AM

Cars line up to leave the town of Batemans Bay in New South Wales to head north today. A major operation to move people stranded in fire-ravaged seaside towns was under way in Australia after deadly bushfires ripped through popular tourist spots and rural areas leaving at least eight people dead. GETTY IMAGES/AFP/PETER PARKS/TNS

SYDNEY (TNS) — Thousands of tourists holidaying on the south coast of Australia have been told to evacuate before the weekend when extreme weather is set to intensify deadly wildfires sweeping through the region.

The Rural Fire Service said anyone in the southeastern tip of New South Wales state should get out in the next two days. The 140-mile stretch from Batemans Bay down to the Victoria state border has been ravaged by fires this week, as infernos turned the sky blood red and rained down embers and ash on communities.

At least seven people have been killed on the south coast of New South Wales this week and hundreds of properties destroyed. Thousands of locals and tourists have been stranded in the rural, forested region at the peak of the summer holiday season as firefighters try to take advantage of cooler weather today to contain blazes and re-open roads. Isolated communities in Victoria also remain cut-off, including the township of Mallacoota, where some 4,000 people were forced to shelter on the beach or escape by boat as wildfires swept through.

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