Authorities said on Tuesday they feared three people had been killed in New South Wales while four others were missing in Victoria after powerful blazes in both states over the past 24 hours. Red Sky
Thousands of tourists and residents in an Australian seaside town hunkered down in public buildings or waded into water at the seafront on Tuesday as wailing emergency sirens warned of a looming, fierce firefront.
With the coastal town of Mallacoota ringed by wildfires and the main road in and out of town cut off, residents and holidaymakers were forced to head to the local gymnasium or waterfront as embers swept through the town.
Robert Phillips, co-owner of a Mallacoota supermarket, told Reuters he was sheltering around 45 people in his store, while others had headed to the town’s main wharf.
“There are spot fires all over the place – the embers are blowing everywhere down the main street,” Phillips told Reuters by telephone. “There are a lot of kids in here that can’t breathe properly.”
Australia has been battling huge bushfires, mostly across its east coast, for several weeks. The blazes have destroyed more than 4 million hectares (10 million acres).