Australian firefighters receive funding boost ahead of bushfire season

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-05 10:27:51|Editor: Li Xia
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CANBERRA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 26 million Australian dollars (19 million U.S. dollars) in additional funding for the nation's firefighters.

Morrison made the announcement on Wednesday as authorities across the country brace for a sweltering summer, which could bring with it deadly bushfires.

He said the funding would "boost aerial firefighting capabilities across Australia, support a new national fire rating program and extend funding for a community alert system."

"Our funding will help support Australians confronting the challenges of natural hazards and reduce the impact they have on our communities and the economy," Morrison said in a media release.

"We will also deliver funding to states and territories for a range of national emergency management projects and natural disaster resilience initiatives."

Bushfire season has already started in Queensland, where more than 100 fires began during a week-long heatwave in late November and early December.

A 21-year-old man in central Queensland was killed by a falling tree on Saturday while clearing a fire break on his family's property.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned late in November that 80 percent of Australia would face higher-than-normal temperatures between December and February.

It comes at a time when severe drought along the country's east coast has created perfect conditions for fires to start.

"The dry landscape means that any warm windy conditions are likely to see elevated fire risk," the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Center said in its seasonal bushfire outlook.

There were not any fatalities in the 2017-18 bushfire season, which was not as severe as expected, after New South Wales and Queensland both experienced their wettest October since 1975.