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31 Dec 2019 | 01:41 AM UTC

Australia: Telecommunications disruptions expected in New South Wales due to bushfires December 31 /update 23

All telecommunication services will reportedly cease in parts of New South Wales on December 31, due to ongoing bushfires; follow authority directives

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AUS

Event

Police in New South Wales (NSW) state have reportedly warned that all telecommunication services, including mobile phones and internet, will cease between Nowra and Moruya in the night (local time) of Tuesday, December 31, due to ongoing bushfires. They also said that this will affect hospitals in the area and are advising individuals to avoid unnecessary travel. The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) announced at 18:00 on Tuesday, that 3000 firefighters are tackling 120 fires burning across NSW - 68 of which are not contained. The Country Fire Authority has issued eight emergency warnings on Tuesday. The NSW RFS warns that conditions continue to be unpredictable and advises individuals to monitor the situation carefully.

Tens of thousands of people have been reportedly evacuated in Victoria state and NSW as of Monday, December 30, due to extreme heat and high winds brought on by ongoing wildfires. 

Weather conditions are also expected to deteriorate in NSW and further spread of the fires is anticipated over the coming days and weeks. A heightened security presence, road closures, telecommunication disruptions, and power outages are to be expected in the vicinity of any wildfire. Up-to-date information on the fires can be found on the following website

Context

Over 3 million hectares (7,413,161 acres) of land have been burned, and at least 829 houses destroyed since the wildfires broke out in NSW on October 9. Authorities have indicated that the fires were due to high temperatures and droughts.

Wildfires are an annual event in Australia between December and February; however, authorities have been on high alert since September 2015 over unseasonably warm temperatures, prompting scientists to speculate that climate change could be extending and increasing the intensity of the fire season.

An AQI reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate, and 101-200+ unhealthy.

Advice

Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid strenuous activities or spending time outdoors, particularly during midday, wear loose-fitting clothing, drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating liquids, such as alcoholic, sugary, or caffeinated drinks, and seek immediate medical attention if exhibiting symptoms of heat stroke, such as nausea, confusion, headache, rapid and strong pulse, and dry skin.