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Tens of thousands of vacationers to leave burning coastal region | TIME ONLINE

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Tens of thousands of vacationers in the southeast of Australia State of New South Wales (NSW) has been ordered by the authorities to leave the coastal region. They are expected to leave the forest fire region by Saturday, with extreme conditions expected again for the day. Firefighters in Australia's most populous state identified a no-go zone for tourists. The existing resources were hardly sufficient for the residents.

"It is vital that we all go," said NSW Transport Secretary Andrew Constance on ABC television. Saturday could "get worse than what we went through". The reason is the weather forecast: Meteorologists are again expecting a heat wave for the day, temperatures of over 40 degrees and strong winds, which could further heat up the wildfires.

Firefighters visited holidaymakers at campsites and hotels, sometimes personally asking them to leave the region within 48 hours. In many places, however, this is not so easy: many motorways and country roads are blocked by fallen trees, others are closed due to their proximity to the fires. Gasoline stocks in the holiday region had been running out for a while after the new fires at the end of the year, and there were kilometers of lines in front of the gas stations. In the meantime, the police have started escorting holidaymakers from some places. The first week of January is absolutely high season in Australia: besides tourists from abroad, most Australians are also on summer vacation.

The new exclusion zone extends from Batemans Bay, 400 kilometers
south of Sydney, about 200 kilometers to the border of the
State of Victoria. After the devastating fires of the past
Tuesday – the deadliest day of the fire crisis – numerous visitors are convinced of the drama of the situation and are ready without being asked
leave.

At least seven people died, according to the authorities, on New Year's Eve in NSW alone
Flames, including a volunteer firefighter. One person is still missing. The number of deaths rose to 15 in this year's fire season in NSW alone. The forest fires destroyed almost 1,300 houses in NSW, including 381 houses on the south coast this week alone. Across Australia, more than 5 million hectares of land have been burned since the fire started.

Evacuation by marine

In Victoria's coastal town of Mallacoota, the military is now rescuing stranded holidaymakers by ship and helicopter. A floating hospital was also used to treat injuries that had escaped to beaches. The marine rescue team also brought paramedics and around 1.6 tons of water, government officials said. The only road to Mallacoota will remain closed for several weeks. "We can't even bring fire engines to some of these communities," said Steve Warrington, local volunteer fire chief. "This is far from over."

In Australia it burns every summer. However, climate researchers assume that man-made climate change will increase the extent of the fire. While extreme weather events and natural disasters can never be directly explained as a result of climate change, long-term trends and sound climate forecasts show that global warming and the change in climate by humans have made forest fires in many regions of the world more frequent and more likely in the future do. This year, fires in Australia started earlier than usual due to prolonged droughts and are more intense and extreme. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison also avoided saying in New Year's speech that there could be a link between climate change and the situation. There is growing criticism in the country of the conservative government's conservative policies on climate protection.

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