New Year's fireworks cancelled in Australian capital amid bushfire crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-30 09:26:02|Editor: mingmei
Video PlayerClose

CANBERRA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Australia's capital city has cancelled its planned New Year's Eve fireworks displays on account of high bushfire risk.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has declared a total fire ban until Wednesday at the earliest with temperatures expected to top 35 degrees Celsius on both Monday and Tuesday, the last two days of 2019.

Events ACT had planned fireworks displays in Canberra for 9 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday night to celebrate the new year but on Sunday evening cancelled bot displays after being advised to do so by Georgeina Whelan, the ACT Emergency Services Agency commissioner.

"It is a sensible decision for us not to proceed with the fireworks in the ACT," Whelan told reporters on Sunday.

Thousands of people were expected to head into Canberra's central business district (CBD) to watch the fireworks but Whelan said the risk was too great.

"We have thousands of ACT residents who actually go to the vantage points around Canberra, such as Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain, Mount Pleasant and Red Hill," she said.

"With those vantage points only having very limited access and obviously evacuation points, and the curing of the grass in those areas, what I was most concerned was the fire risk that would be associated with that."

In addition to the fireworks Events ACT said that other planned events, including live music acts around the CBD, could also be cancelled because of the weather and poor air quality caused by nearby fires.

"Events ACT is continuing to monitor weather conditions and smoke haze to determine if the other planned activities and live music performances can proceed without the fireworks," Events ACT's Jo Verden said in a statement.