A volunteer firefighter has died in Australia during the worst bushfire season in the country’s history.
The firefighter, who worked for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS), was killed when two trucks were overturned by high winds near Jingellic, close to Victoria’s border.
Two others were taken to hospital and are said to have suffered severe burns in the incident.
It is thought the incident happened while they were battling the Green Valley Fire, one of four emergency-level fires around the state.
A statement from RFS said their thoughts were with the firefighter’s ‘families, friends and fellow brigade members’.
So-far 10 people have died as a result of the bushfires burning through more than 4,600,000 hectares of Australia.
Monday evening saw around 16 emergency-level fires burning in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales.
By late night there were nine left burning in East Gippsland, one of which travelled 24 kilometres in six hours.
Around 30,000 people were told to evacuate the region on Sunday, as it was expected to become ‘high-risk’ as a result of soaring temperatures and strong winds.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp warned that if visitors hadn’t left by 9am (GMT 10pm), there would be ‘every chance’ they won’t be able to leave at all.
However, thousands of tourists still chose to remain in the region, with one caravan park owner describing how his guests believed they could ‘bunker down and hope for the best’.
Many of the fires were sparked by dry lightning strikes.
Temperatures in New South Wales are expected to spike on New Year’s Eve, with predicted forecasts of more than 40°C across parts of Sydney.
Almost 900 homes have been ruined by the blazes, while 3,480,000 hectares of land was burned.
However, authorities are continuing to push ahead with the annual fireworks display in the harbour city despite calls for it to be cancelled.
The state’s deputy premier John Barilaro referenced other displays being shut down as he wrote on social media: ‘The risk is too high and we must respect our exhausted RFS volunteers.
‘If regional areas have had fireworks banned, then let’s not have two classes of citizens. We’re all in this crisis together.’
Yet City of Sydney spokeswoman Tanya Goldberg said the council had taken the ‘firm view’ that the fireworks should go ahead, saying it would ‘hurt Sydney businesses’ to cancel.
She also stated that cancelling would ‘ruin plans for tens of thousands of people who have come from across the country and overseas.’
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