Thousands evacuated as wildfire breaks through containment lines in Australia

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-28 14:49:36|Editor: Yamei
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SYDNEY, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Australia have ordered the immediate evacuation of thousands of residents and dozens of schools, after a massive wildfire broke through containment lines in central Queensland State on Wednesday.

"If you have children with you, you need to think really hard about not losing a house, but losing the people you care most about," Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Bob Gee warned.

"People will burn to death. Their normal approaches probably won't work if this situation develops the way it is predicted to develop."

"It is no different to a Category five cyclone coming through your door. Leave now," he urged.

Despite the tireless efforts of fire crew, eight water-bombing aircraft and teams of extra firefighters flown in from other states, the catastrophic conditions which have seen temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and wind gusts of 50 km per hour, have made battling the 138 separate blazes along the Queensland coast virtually impossible.

While wildfires are burning from Cairns in the north to the Gold Coast in the south, it's the area in the middle of the 1,800 km stretch near the townships of Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Oyster Creek, Rules Beach and Rockhampton which is causing the most concern for emergency services.

"This is something we don't want to overstate, but they're comparing this to the conditions in the Waroona fires in Western Australia, which completely wiped out a town a few years ago, and also to the recent California fires," Queensland Rural Fire Services Central Region Manager Brian Smith told the Australian Associated Press.

So far, the wildfires have already burnt through more than 20,000 hectares of bushland, and that figure is expected to rise significantly higher after today.

Although it's not clear how many homes have been lost, authorities fear there will be a significant amount of damage to properties across much of the state.

While no fatalities have been reported at this stage, QLD Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said, "These are the kind of days where people could lose their lives."