MOSCOW, Jan 2 (Bernama) -- Australian authorities have launched major evacuation efforts in the southeast of the country due to ongoing raging bushfires there, Sputnik news agency quoted Australian media reports on Thursday.
During three months of bushfires, more than seven million acres of forest have reportedly been burned, destroying animal habitats, plant species and homes in the process. New fires were also ignited on Tuesday due to lightning storms caused by the smoke from the bushfires.
According to the 9News broadcaster, all tourists have been ordered to leave the state of Victoria, where there are currently 45 fires blazing, at least until Saturday.
Around 4,000 residents in the region will be evacuated, the outlet said, citing Debra Abbott, the deputy emergency management commissioner at Emergency Management Victoria.
Victoria will also be in a state of emergency status starting on Friday.
Additionally, the Australian navy will assist evacuation efforts on Friday, carrying residents stranded on the Mallacoota foreshore and cut off from road access by the bushfires to ports some 17 to 20 hours away.
TAGS: Australia, fire, bushfires, evacuation, emergency, lightning storms