Two dead in Australian bushfires as officials warn of worse to come

Two dead in Australian bushfires as officials warn of worse to come

Two people died during evacuations amid hundreds of bushfires raging in Australia’s Queensland, with authorities warning there was worse to come.

Around 350 people were evacuated from the Tara region, where an out-of-control blaze ravaged more than 11,000 hectares of land and left 16 homes in ruins, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said at a briefing.

On Tuesday night, a man lost his life while attempting to safeguard his property and a woman died on Wednesday after suffering a cardiac arrest while preparing to evacuate.

The deaths come after two firefighters were reported dead in New South Wales (NSW) last week.

Hundreds of firefighters have been working to control the bushfires raging for weeks in four regions of Australia - Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Northern Territory.

Authorities warned that high temperatures this year and dry winds could make this the worst bushfire season since the “Black Summer” of 2019-2020.

“This is going to go on for a long time,” the fire service’s acting chief superintendent Warren Buckley said. “We’re planning for it to go on past Christmas and into early next year. It will be a long campaign until we get some rain.”

Australia has had an unusually hot spring and winter season. In the northern hemisphere this summer, record-breaking wildfires scorched large parts of Europe and Canada.

Temperatures in Queensland reached 42 degrees Celsius on Wednesday - significantly higher than monthly averages. Earlier this week, the region recorded temperatures around 10 degrees higher than average.

2023 is on track to become the hottest year in human history, driven by man-made carbon pollution and the cyclic El Nino pattern. This summer in the northern hemisphere was already declared record breaking by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Nasa.