'Code Red' as heat intensifies

2009-11-17 11:35
Sydney - Australian officials issued their first ever "catastrophic" wildfire evacuation warning on Tuesday, as a parching heatwave intensified over the country's south.

Created in the wake of February's devastating Black Saturday firestorm, which killed 173 people, the new warning urges residents to flee due to conditions being at their most extreme.

It replaced a "stay or go" policy allowing homeowners to remain and fight extremely risky blazes, which came under heavy criticism after the February disaster.

Catastrophic or Code Red conditions were declared for the first time in South Australia state on Tuesday, where the temperature was forecast to top 40 degrees Celsius following an earlier record-breaking heatwave.

"In the next couple of days we are going to see high temperatures, very low humidity and very strong winds," said fire service chief Euan Ferguson.

"This is the first real test for the summer."

Code Red conditions are considered on a par with those experienced ahead of the Black Saturday fires, which in Victoria state razed entire towns and more than 2 000 homes, Australia's worst natural disaster of modern times.

Residents cannot be forcibly evacuated but are strongly advised to leave their property on a Code Red day, which signifies a high risk of death or injury and destruction.

"To ensure your survival you should leave tonight or early tomorrow morning, well before a fire starts," the fire service said in its official warning.

South Australia sweltered through a record-breaking eight days of extreme temperatures last week, leaving bushland and pastoral areas tinder-dry and vulnerable to fast-moving and uncontrollable flames.

It was the state's first-ever November heatwave, and Ferguson said he had never seen so much combustible material so early in the southern hemisphere summer.

- SAPA
Read more on:    australia  |  fires
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The spotlight may be on you and you need to perform. This can be overwhelming and you need to stay as focussed and centred as you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.