Nation & World News

As Smoke Blankets Sydney, Australians Brace For Worse Days

By Mark Memmott on October 22nd, 2013

Wildfires are burning to the north, south and west of Sydney, Australia, and smoke “has been rolling in for days,” correspondent Stuart Cohen said Tuesday on Morning Edition.

While the fires are mostly in sparsely populated areas, Sydney is blanketed — “you can smell smoke inside buildings” and health authorities are expecting a surge in cases of people with respiratory problems, Cohen added.

Things may get worse.

The top headline today on the website of The Sydney Morning Herald quotes Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons saying that Wednesday (already underway in Australia) “will be as bad as it gets.”

The weather in New South Wales state, which surrounds Sydney, is going to be “hotter, drier and windier than the dire predictions previously forecast,” the Morning Herald writes.

“On days like [this],” Fitzsimmons says, “there’s a very real potential for more loss of homes and life.” So far, only one death has been linked to the fires — that of a man who died of a suspected heart attack while battling a blaze that threatened his home.

Looking ahead, correspondent Cohen notes that Australia “usually has its peak fire season in the middle of summer — December and January. … The big worry now is that it’s only October [and] there are still months and months ahead of the typical fire season.”

The causes of the several dozen fires have varied. There have been lightning strikes and other natural fire starters. There have also been some cases of suspected arson.

Australian Broadcasting writes that “an 11-year-old boy appeared in court on Tuesday accused of setting fire to an abandoned mattress and lighting a grass fire in Newcastle, north of Sydney, last week. A 15-year-old boy will face court next month over the same fire. Police say the fire caused about 5,000 hectares of damage.” According to the Metric Views blog, a typical Major League Baseball field is about one hectare. A typical cricket ground (see the photo we’ve attached to this post) is about 1.25 hectares.

Australian Broadcasting is live blogging here.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Dante Martin waits for jury selection on Monday, Oct. 27, as he stood trial in Orange County, Fla.

Former Band Member Found Guilty In FAMU Hazing Case

A Florida jury found Dante Martin guilty of manslaughter for his role in the fatal hazing of drum major Robert Champion.


The commercial space ship, pictured here in an earlier test flight, crashed in the California Desert.

1 Dead After Commercial Spaceship Crashes During Test Flight

The Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two was undergoing a test flight when it crashed in the California desert. The spaceship is designed to take tourists to space.


Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Elite division of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014.

With Reports Of Doping, World Marathon Majors Postpones Awards Ceremony

Rita Jeptoo, the accomplished marathoner who holds the course record at Boston, has reportedly tested positive for a banned substance. The Majors said it’s awaiting a decision by the governing body.


Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, take delivery of a pizza at their home in Fort Kent, Maine, on Thursday. A judge has ruled that the state cannot compel Hickox to remain in isolation if she's not showing signs of Ebola infection.

Maine Judge Rejects State’s Bid To Restrict Nurse’s Movements

The request by state officials would have compelled Kaci Hickox, who shows no symptoms of Ebola, to isolate herself until Nov. 10.


He's not welcome in Vendargues. The French town has banned people from dressing up as clowns for the next month following violent incidents across the country.

No Joke: French Town Cracks Down On Clown Costumes After Attacks

The French town of Vendargues has banned people from dressing up as clowns for a month starting today. The move follows violent incidents across the country involving teens dressed as clowns.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments