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2019-12-31

Australia fires: Thousands flee to the sea as fires race to coast

Thousands of people in Australia have fled to the seafront to seek shelter from massive bushfires racing to the coast.
One blaze moved into the Victorian town of Mallacoota on Tuesday morning, throwing embers towards homes.
Locals described a \"terrifying experience\" of camping on wharves and boarding boats under blood-red skies.
Several holiday spots along the coast between Sydney and Melbourne are currently cut off by fire fronts.
More than a dozen \"emergency-level\" blazes span a 500km (310 miles) stretch across two Australian states - from Batemans Bay in New South Wales (NSW) to Bairnsdale in Victoria.

Authorities had urged people in the region - many of them tourists - to stay put because by Monday it was too late and dangerous to evacuate.
The bushfires north of these communities had escalated due to a surge in temperatures, winds, and dry lightning.
Authorities said there were seven people missing in the region - four in Victoria and three in NSW.
\"We do have real fears for their safety. They\'ve been in active fire environments and we can\'t account for them,\" said Victoria\'s premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday.
\'We were ready to jump into the water\'
Residents in the NSW holiday towns of Bermagui and Batemans Bay also fled on Tuesday morning to the waterfront or makeshift evacuation sites near the shore.


(You can read the rest of the story on BBC’s website)


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