Authorities have declared Australia's summer wildfires as the worst on record - and the season has only just begun.
The early and devastating extent of the bushfires has had a tragic impact on human life, flora and fauna.
About five million hectares of land have burned. At least seven people have died and thousands of homes destroyed since the start of the summer
Locals and visitors in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) are being evacuated from the fire-affected area as officials expect conditions to worsen over the weekend.
Tourist Leave Zone – South Coast Bush Fires— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 1, 2020
Dangerous conditions for holiday makers on the South Coast of NSW this weekend
With the widespread power and communications outages across the South Coast please share this information to as many affected people as possible. #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/JvbwrpC1fe
All visitors have been urged to evacuate before Saturday, when temperatures are expected to reach above 40 degrees Celsius. Paired with dry conditions and blustery winds, the fire risk is expected to heighten.
Danielle Celermajer, a NSW resident and professor at the University of Sydney, says the Australian government has failed to provide a serious political response to the fires.
Celermajer says the unprecedented intensity and scale of the fires clearly proves that they are linked to climate change.
It is a devastating situation and we still have a government that is denying that this is a climate catastrophe-related fires.— Danielle Celermajer, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy - University of Sydney
Just at the start of where I live, there is a fire burning right now over about 230,000 hectares [of land].— Danielle Celermajer, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy - University of Sydney
On New Years Eve, it was a devastating day. Entire towns were razed.— Danielle Celermajer, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy - University of Sydney
People were evacuated to beaches. They had to get into water because the fire went right into the beach.— Danielle Celermajer, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy - University of Sydney
It's estimated that five million wild animals have died. 30% of the koala population in Northen New South Wales has been killed.— Danielle Celermajer, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy - University of Sydney
Listen to the discussion for more:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Australian bushfires are a climate catastrophe, warns Sydney professor