In Victoria, officials issued new evacuation orders at around 17:00 (local time) for communities in Bennies, Cheshunt South, Markous, Rose River, Top Crossing, Wabonga, and Upper Rose River. As of 20:30, ten emergency warnings were still active in northeastern parts of the state, including for Bandiana, Chandlers Creek, Buldah, Biggara, Pine mountain, Swift Creek, Omeo, Brookside, Buckland, Bright, and Dinner Plain.
In NSW, the Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has issued emergency warnings for Dunns Road, East Ournie Creek, Green Valley, and Talmano. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued severe to extreme fire danger warnings for the southern slopes, Monaro Alpine, Southern Ranges, Eastern Riviera, and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Further evacuation orders are likely in the coming hours, as fires in Dunns Road and East Ournie Creek are expected to merge.
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 in NSW can be found here, and in Victoria here.
Over 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres) of land have been burned, and at least 2000 houses destroyed since the wildfires broke out on October 9. At least 27 people have also died in the region as of January 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.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, keep abreast of warnings, anticipate transportation and power disruptions, and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities, notably evacuation orders.
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