'It's too late to leave' residents warned as bushfires rage across Australia
30 December 2019, 16:26 | Updated: 6 January 2020, 13:45
Emergency warnings have been issued across parts of Australia with people being warned it's "too late" to escape and to "take shelter indoors immediately."
A large number of fires are reported to be burning out of control across Australia as a heatwave which has seen temperatures exceed 40C in every state hits the nation.
More than seventy new bushfires have been reported in a part of Australia where tens of thousands of people have been urged to flee.
Strong winds are fanning the flames towards them, with fires in East Gippsland reaching 'extreme danger' level.
Andrew Crisp, Victoria state's emergency management commissioner said it was a "high risk" day for the state, advising "our state is dry, it's going to be very hot," he warned the public to "get out now, "if you don't you've got to stay across the conditions."
Emergency fire warnings were also issued for South Australia, New South Wales (NSW) and Tasmania on Monday.
In Sydney, more than a quarter of a million people have signed a petition calling for the iconic New Year's Eve fireworks to be cancelled and the money spent on fighting fires.
At 12pm, 97 fires are burning across NSW with 43 yet to be contained. With high temperatures and strong winds forecast for today and tomorrow, visibility is yet again low across some firegrounds. Talk to your family and friends about what your plan will be if threatened by fire. pic.twitter.com/dpmAESdWwd— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) December 30, 2019
The Victoria Government emergency warning system issued a red alert, warning "you are in danger and need to act immediately to survive."
The service said: "The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately. It is too late to leave."
Their website says, as a last resort people should: "Shelter in the middle of a large open area like a ploughed paddock, football oval or sporting reserve," or try to "get into a large body of water like a dam, lake, river, the ocean or inground pool."
With a number of fires burning in the states of New South Wales and Victoria, state emergency services have issued emergency warnings for Walwa, Mount Alfred, Guys Forest, Burrowye, Cudgewa, Cudgewa North and Tintaldra.
Emergency services issued a blunt warning to residents in Lakes Entrance as well as around 30,000 holiday-makers in the area.
"We are asking you to now leave East Gippsland from that area, east of Bairnsdale, along the coast there, into the parks, into the forest," Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters on Sunday.
"You should not be there tomorrow, and we want you to get out now."