Two people have died during evacuations amid hundreds of bushfires raging in Australia’s Queensland, with authorities warning the worst is yet to come.
About 350 people have been evacuated from the Tara region, where an out-of-control fire has ravaged more than 11,000 hectares of land and left 16 homes in ruins, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said in a briefing Press.
On Tuesday evening, a man died while trying to save his belongings 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 for weeks to control bushfires raging in four regions of Australia: Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.
Authorities have warned that this year’s high temperatures and dry winds could make it the worst bushfire season since the “black summer” of 2019-2020.
“This is going to last a long time,” said Acting Fire Chief Superintendent Warren Buckley. “We expect this to continue after Christmas and early next year. The campaign will be long until it rains.
Australia has experienced exceptionally warm springs and winters. This summer in the northern hemisphere, unprecedented wildfires ravaged 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 about 10 degrees above average.
2023 is on track to become the hottest year in human history, due to human-caused carbon pollution and the cyclical El Niño phenomenon. This summer in the northern hemisphere has already been declared a record by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and NASA.