More than 50 bushfires continue to burn in Tasmania as of Sunday, January 27, affecting over 99,000 hectares (244,634 acres) across the state. Officials issued the highest warning alert on Sunday for the areas of Lake Echo, Shannon, Wannamana, Synots Sugarloaf, and Bashan Plains, while the Tasmanian Fire Service warned residents in Lonnavale, Glen Huon, and Judbury of another uncontrolled fire. Meanwhile, authorities reported a new fire on Sunday in Fortescue Bay, reportedly caused by a discarded cigarette.
The Bureau of Meteorology has indicated extreme heat is forecast beginning on Wednesday, January 30, with temperatures expected to hit 35°C (95°F) in central cities, complicating fire fighting efforts. Additional fires are possible in Tasmania as high temperatures are expected in the coming days.
Wildfires are an annual summer event in Australia; 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.
Individuals present in Tasmania are advised to keep abreast of warnings and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities, notably evacuation orders. Furthermore, as high temperatures are expected in the near-term, individuals are also advised to remain hydrated and minimize outdoor activities.
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