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Wooroloo Fire Destroys Homes in Australia, Forces Locked-Down Residents to Evacuate

Wooroloo Fire Destroys Homes in Australia, Forces Locked-Down Residents to Evacuate
Fire crews work to bring the Wooroloo bushfire under control on Feb. 2, 2021 in Perth, Australia. Paul Kane / Getty Images

The Wooroloo fire, raging out of control outside Perth, Western Australia, has destroyed at least 71 homes and was expected to continue to grow.

Authorities warn the fire, already fueled by hot and unusually dry conditions, is being made dangerously erratic by winds gusting at over 45 mph and blowing embers as much as three miles ahead of the firefront.

Smoke from the blaze turned skies over the city on Australia's western coast a hazy orange, raining ash on suburban homes, and dangerously degraded air quality. Climate change makes wildfires more extreme as increased temperatures dry out brush and soil, exacerbating fire conditions. Officials emphasized that evacuation orders caused by the fire overrode the snap lockdown triggered by a COVID-19 infection earlier in the week.

As reported by The New York Times:

The fire, reminiscent of the infernos that devoured Australia's southeast coast more than a year ago, is another reminder that as climate change spurs more frequent and intense natural disasters, Australia and other countries are likely to find themselves dealing with intersecting catastrophes.

For a deeper dive:

BBC, Sydney Morning Herald, 9News, CNN, The New York Times, AP, The Independent. Photos: Al Jazeera; Climate Signals background: Wildfires

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