Australia Wildfires Prompt Countries to Issue Travel Warnings
Canada and the United States have issued strong travel warnings on Australia as intense wildfires continue raging and sweeping parts of the country.
According to Global News, a Canadian news service, Canada elevated the risk level for areas in Australia affected by bushfires on Friday, advising travellers to “exercise a high degree of caution.”
The risk classification is one level above advisories to “exercise normal security precautions,” but below those to “avoid non-essential travel” and “avoid all travel,” the report indicates.
For its part, the US State Department has suggested that tourists “consider postponing their trip to affected areas until the danger of natural disaster has passed”.
“Even in areas not directly affected by bushfires, smoke is causing poor air quality,” the State Department said in a statement.
Australia is in the midst of battling bushfires that have consumed 8.4 million hectares of land over the last five months — an area larger than the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island put together.
The Australian state of New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney, has seen the worst of the fires, but they have also spread to other parts of the country, including Victoria and the western edges of the continent.
The fires have been fuelled by persistent heat waves, one of the worst droughts the country has seen in decades, and high winds that are further spreading the fires.
The death toll currently sits at 24 people, with more than 2,000 homes destroyed. Researchers estimate nearly 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been affected in New South Wales alone since September.