Catastrophic bushfire warning issued for Australia’s Northern Territory

Authorities on Thursday issued a warning for catastrophic bushfire conditions in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT).

A total fire ban was declared for vast areas of the NT as the region faces its biggest bushfire threat since 2015, reports Xinhua news agency.

Extreme fire danger warnings have been issued with strong winds exacerbating hot, dry conditions.

Several popular tourist and walking sites have been closed.

Collene Bremner, the executive director of Bushfires NT, said crews have been working for months to create fire breaks but warned that would not be sufficient in severe conditions.

“When a fire starts under these conditions, it will go like the clappers,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

It is the most significant bushfire threat to the NT since the September 2015 fires that destroyed houses on the outskirts of Darwin, the capital city of the NT.

“Certainly, in the scientific side of things and the weather side of things, we’re really pushing the boundaries in terms of the historical records,” Todd Smith from the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“But just don’t let that distract from the fact that it’s going to be a really bad fire day (on Friday) and also the day after and even through into Saturday.”

Thursday’s warning comes after an inquiry into the devastating 2019-20 Australian bushfires revealed on Tuesday that the country should expect “worse” in the years to come.

The blazes that began last August and burned for months, killed 33 people across the country, along with millions of animals and scorched vast areas.

The inquiry report also noted an alarming rise in fire-generated storms – the most dangerous type of blaze, the BBC reported.

Of the 90 recorded since the early 1980s, a third took place in 2019.

It however, added that this year’s bushfire season was unlikely to be as severe.