Fire-ravaged states are once again preparing for another day of searing temperatures and high fire danger as multiple cities and towns struggle with hazardous air conditions.
Conditions continue to worsen for residents on Kangaroo Island with communities being evacuated overnight ahead of today’s dangerous fire weather.
In Victoria, a State of Disaster has been extended as it, and New South Wales, prepare for temperatures above 40C over the coming days.
The Victorian premier has extended the State of Disaster for the next 48 hours amid extreme conditions in the coming days.
Temperatures are expected to soar across the state today and tomorrow, and strong winds are expected across the state.
“We have forecast conditions of extreme danger, very significant fire activity is likely off the back of a hot day today, a hot day tomorrow and a change not coming through in the east of the state until late afternoon tomorrow and in the northern part of the state not until the evening on Saturday,” Daniel Andrews said.
Residents in the fire zone are being urged to leave before conditions worsen.
“The last spike prior to these most recent few days of cooler weather, the job, the task at hand was made much easier – not easy by any stretch but made easier by the fact that literally tens of thousands of Victorians listened to the advice they were given,” Mr Andrews said.
“They left communities that could potentially be fire-impacted and some of those communities were impacted by fire.
“Ultimately, if you are given an instruction, if you are given advice, I urge you to follow it. The advice is issued for your best interests. For your safety and, indeed, the safety of those who may be called to your aid.”
Emergency warnings for areas around Bobinawarrah, Carboor, Kneebones Gap, Whorouly, Whorouly East and Whorouly South were issued this morning, and residents there are being advised conditions are unstable, however this blaze is now at a watch and act level.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said there are 23 fires currently burning, up from 12.
“It is not that we have got new fires. What that means is that we actually group together a number of fires into complexes to hopefully make it easier for people to understand the fire ground we had,” he said.
“Our message this time is clear and simple, it is exactly the same message: ‘You should not be there’.
“It is a very dangerous and dynamic situation that will confront us over the next 12, 24 and 36 hours. You need to heed those warnings.”
The north-east of Victoria is expected to be hardest hit, and the government is urging people to get to larger towns.
“Ideally, out of East Gippsland. Sale is outside that particular area,” Mr Crisp said.
The Bureau of Meteorology said there will be a return to severe to extreme fire danger conditions across parts of Victoria tomorrow.
“There will be a gusty south-westerly wind change which will move across the state tomorrow,” Senior Meteorologist Steven McGibbony said.
“That will move into the west of the state earlier in the day. It will reach central areas around midday and early afternoon and make its way through the east of the state in the mid-to late afternoon and through the evening.
“Bairnsdale around 3pm and Mount Buller around 4pm and reaching Mallacoota by 6pm, not reaching the far north-east of the State until well into the evening.
“It will be a gusty wind change. We are expecting to see winds averaging around 40-50km/h with that change. Gusts getting up to around 70 or 90km/h,” he added.
Text messages will be sent to residents who are in the fire zone and will need to leave, or seek shelter.
The CFS said 244 homes have been impacted from fires so far and nearly 400 structures have been lost, however that number is expected to be much higher.
Temperatures are set to rise in NSW and the ACT today ahead of dangerous fire conditions predicted tomorrow.
The ACT could reach 41C tomorrow with strong winds creating dangerous conditions for firefighters and local communities.
Sydney is forecast to reach 30C and a coastal wind warning has been issued for several areas along the northern and south coast of NSW.
Gale-force winds are expected areas around Batemans Bay and Eden which has already been devastated by bushfires over the new year period.
Sydney is forecast to experience another day of poor air quality today with an air quality warning now issued.
Areas including the Illawara, Port Macquarie, Southern Tablelands, South-west slopes and the Upper Hunter are expected to experience particularly poor air quality as is Canberra.
Everyone, especially those suffering from heart or lung disease, are being advised to avoid exposure.
Dr Chris Moy, from the Australian Medical Association, said people that suffer from hay fever, allergies or conjunctivitis may also be experiencing more severe symptoms.
“Smoke causes irritation not allergy, however, someone’s allergies may be worse due to irritation caused by the particles in smoke,” he told 9news.com.au.
Dr Moy said there are certain preventative medications people can use to ease symptoms associated with hay fever or irritation including dry eyes and congested sinuses.
“Antihistamines can be used to reduce inflammation and therefore reduce irritation from smoke,” he said.
“Liquid eye drops can also help to soothe irritated eyes.”
Dr Moy also said decongestants, commonly used to treat symptoms of a common cold such as a runny nose, could be helpful in reliving symptoms of smoke irritation.
“They are helpful short term but long term, people can become addicted,” he said.
Dr Moy explained decongestants can cause the body to become reliant on the medication and ultimately will not provide a long-term solution.
“People should seek advice from their GP or at least a pharmacist before using anything like that particularly if they are already taking some sort of medication such as antidepressants.”
South Australia is facing its second consecutive day of dangerous fire conditions with temperatures set to soar again.
Severe danger warnings are in place for the Kangaroo Island, Mid North, Yorke Peninsula, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Mount Lofty Ranges and Lower South East.
Despite desperate efforts from fire crews on Kangaroo Island, 140 people were evacuated last night ahead of mounting concern the fire will jump containment lines today.
High temperatures and strong gusty winds in areas around the state has prompted a severe weather warning for Lower Eyre Peninsula, Mid North, Mount Lofty Ranges, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and Lower South East.
A third of the island has been burnt but the rest of it remains open for business.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked tourists to be patient with bushfire-affected holiday operators and to “cut them a break” when asking for refunds.
“If you’ve booked accommodation and you’re now seeking a refund, can you cut them a break in terms of, at the very least, on the timing of when you might expect to see a refund,” Mr Morrison said.