From Inside the Fire Truck, This Is What They Saw


Up to four thousand people are trapped on the foreshore of the encircled seaside town of Mallacoota, in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, where authorities said nearby fires were manifesting extreme self-generating thunderstorms and "ember attacks".

About 4,000 residents in the southeastern town of Mallacoota in Victoria state fled toward the water Tuesday morning as winds pushed an emergency-level wildfire toward their homes.

Meanwhile, across Victoria, over 200,000 hectares have already been burnt in the fires, according to the state's Emergency Management Commissioner, Andrew Crisp.

The Premier also asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for military assistance amid the raging fires, suggesting Naval vessels to help get supplies to isolated communities or heavy-lift aircraft to work alongside the state's air fleet.

Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews requested assistance from 70 firefighters from the USA and Canada, while Australia's military sent air and sea reinforcements, The Associated Press reported.

Fire and Rescue New South Wales uploaded the shocking clip alongside the caption: "The crew from Fire and Rescue NSW Station 509 Wyoming recorded this video showing the moment their truck was overrun by the bushfire burning South of Nowra".

New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the extent of the fires made it unsafe for the time being to get to the locations of the missing.

The crisis has focused attention on climate change - which scientists say is creating a longer and more intense bushfire season - and sparked street protests calling for immediate action to tackle global warming. This can not be our new normal. Earlier in December, two other NSW volunteer firefighters died after their vehicle hit a tree during firefighting operations. He was an expectant father.

Emergency services officials said it was possible towns in the Gippsland area could be evacuated by sea as the fires, fanned by strong winds, continued.

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By Tuesday evening, some people were even returning to their homes, according to Victoria's Country Fire Authority Chief, Steve Warrington, though he added that "a number of houses" in are believed to be destroyed or damaged.

By day's end, the fires had ripped along a section of the New South Wales coast, including large towns like Batemans Bay, Bermagui with flames reaching as far north as Jervis Bay. Authorities warned that power would be out for 24 hours along the fire-ravaged south coast of the state.

Bibby described the fires as a symptom of climate change.

While cities such as Canberra and Parramatta canceled fireworks celebrations to bring in the new year, Sydney's harborside festivities that draw in tens of thousands of tourists will go ahead.

Sydney's popular celebrations were expected to attract around a million spectators and generate 130 million Australian dollars ($91 million) for New South Wales' economy.

Dozens slept overnight at the gates to the free zones around the harbour and hundreds arrived before dawn on Tuesday to grab the best spots to see the Sydney sky lit up with 100,000 fireworks.

A British man in Australia has shared haunting images after being caught up in devastating bushfires on New Years Eve.

Later on Tuesday, Moore spoke at a press conference where she hit back at critics of the city's fireworks display, telling reporters that the real issue the country should be anxious about is climate change.