Australia Braces for New Round of Bushfires As Winds Pick up and Temperatures Rise (Video)
Officials were warning communities along the east to prepare for strong fires as the weather forecast predicted high temperatures and strong winds, Reuters reported.
The news service noted that a few days of cooler weather gave firefighters a chance to try to get the fires still burning — there’s more than 100 of them — under control. But temperatures were set to rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the capital of Canberra starting Thursday and continue through the weekend, according to The Weather Channel.
Reuters reported that one fire in a park south of Canberra was upgraded to an emergency warning level with fears that winds could create fires in the suburbs.
“Helicopters and large air tankers are water-bombing, establishing containment lines and undertaking aerial surveillance,” Canberra’s emergency services said in a notice.
In one incident the country's rescue operation may have helped start another fire on Tuesday.
A blaze in Namadgi National Park was likely ignited by the heat from an army helicopter that was there to help fight bushfires, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. It may have started a grassfire underneath it and officials have told the paper they are concerned it could cross the border into the state of New South Wales.
"It is deeply regrettable that our support operations have likely started this fire," the Department of Defence said in a statement on Tuesday, according to the paper. "Defence has taken immediate action to reduce the risk of fires being started by helicopters, including not using certain aircraft lighting in extreme weather conditions."
On Monday, the NSW Rural Fire Service tweeted a warning to residents that “worsening conditions are forecast for later in the week so prepare now,” telling them to do things like repair broken roof tiles (which they called an “open invitation for embers”) as well as clear up dried leaves from gutters.
The new warnings come as residents in the suburbs of Canberra were temporarily evacuated last week due to a bushfire that broke out near the airport.