Australia fires live: NSW and SA count cost of bushfires after Balmoral and Cudlee Creek devastation – latest
EPA Victoria (@EPA_Victoria)
#AirQuality forecast for today: Moderate air quality is expected for Melbourne and Geelong. Very poor air quality is forecast for the Latrobe Valley. Smoky conditions expected. View your local air quality at EPA AirWatch: https://t.co/x3FPiMeu7N pic.twitter.com/mBrjQdgUgU
NSW RFS (@NSWRFS)
A number of roads remained closed as firefighters, energy providers, tree loppers and councils work to clear dangerous trees and fire affected power poles. This will result in a number of roads remaining closed for a number of days. #NSWRFS https://t.co/w7ibjFQhfp
A summary of the crisis so far, according to AAP.
- Almost 200 fires burning across the country.
- Seven people have been killed.
- More than 900 homes lost in this year’s bushfire season: NSW – 789; Queensland – 40; South Australia – 72; Western Australia – 1.
- Thousands of outbuildings destroyed or damaged, stock and crops destroyed.
- 2,000 koalas feared killed
Hi Amy Corderoy taking over the blog from Calla Wahlquist this morning.
The prime minister Scott Morrison has characterised the push for him to do more on climate change in response to the fires crisis as a “politically motivated” panic that he will not be intimidated by.
Here is is full response to journalist Monique Wright’s question about whether community feeling has changed in regard to climate change given what has happened over the past week.
I think the need to take action as we are on climate change and the science of that is as true as we went to the last election as it is to now. And the plans that we have are as important now as it is to then, we will beat our Kyoto targets, we will meet our Paris targets and I intend to beat those as well. We have record investments in renewable energy and I look forward to welcoming more of that. Emissions on average under our government are 50 million tonnes lower than under the previous government, and power prices as the ACCC showed yesterday coming down by $65 a year as a direct result of our policies. But what I won’t do Monique is I’ll never panic. I don’t think panic is a way to manage anything. The urge for panic that has come from some, often politically motivated, to pursue a particular agenda, is not something I’m ever intimidated by, or distracted by.
The full interview has been posted by Sunrise on Twitter:
FULL INTERVIEW: Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP joined Sunrise to answer criticism about taking a holiday while the country burned, and ruling out changes to climate policy. #auspol pic.twitter.com/x3LQplGaUR
Frankston Community Noticeboard (@FrankstonCNB)
Penny Timms (@pennytimms)
Devastating interview with Captain of the Balmoral fire brigade, Brendan O’Connor, on @RadioNational Breakfast just now. They ran out of water while fighting the blaze. He says no government officials, of any level, has visited. Feeling very overlooked.
Speaking of emissions, Guardian Australia’s environment editor Adam Morton reports that Australia’s actual emissions are “significantly higher than previously believed for the years when Labor was in power, and no longer rise each year since the Coalition repealed the carbon price”.
SA premier Steven Marshall said rapid damage assessment teams began working on Kangaroo Island on Sunday and are moving through fire-affected areas, which means that the number of homes and buildings confirmed destroyed or damaged is likely to increase.
As of 8pm last night, Marshall told ABC 24, the number of homes destroyed were at 86, with 500 outbuildings and “hundreds of vehicles” also destroyed.
He said there was also “extensive losses in terms of livestock animals, pets and massive crop damage, massive damage to vineyards. In total over 40,000 hectares completely destroyed here in SA in just three days. It is an extraordinary situation”.
Marshall was also asked about the climate emergency. He skirted a question about whether Scott Morrison’s response had been adequate, but said that he was personally convinced of the link between a changing climate and worsening bushfires. Says Marshall:
That is my opinion and that is the opinion of, I think, the the vast majority of scientists that exist. We have got to do everything we can to make ourselves more climate resilient and that is what we’re doing in SA.
SA has a strategy of net zero emissions by 2050. Victoria also has a strategy of net zero by 2050, and the ACT is aiming for net zero by 2045.
We start the day’s live coverage of the bushfire crisis with the news that the number of houses destroyed in the Cudlee Creek bushfire has been revised up to 86.
South Australian premier Steven Marshall said on Monday that the full extent of the damage to the Adelaide Hills was still being assessed, but that a significant proportion of the 25,000ha burned included vineyards and apple and pear orchards.
The man who died trying to defend his Charleston home in that fire has been identified as 69-year-old Ron Selth. Selth has been remembered by his family for his “incredible, sometimes injury-causing hugs”.
Meanwhile, prime minister Scott Morrison says he will not be swayed by “posturing” on the climate emergency that is “taking advantage of natural disasters”.
Morrison said on Sunrise this morning:
We won’t engage in reckless and job-destroying and economy-crunching targets which have been seeking to be postured to us at the moment, taking advantage of natural disasters because no Australian would think that the direct policies of any single government in the world is directly linked to any fire event, that is not true.
Morrison said the challenge of climate change had not changed since May, which is true. Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor had some thoughts on the adequacy, or inadequacy, of the government’s response on climate change. You can read that here.
Energy minister Angus Taylor repeated what appears to be the official government line that there is nothing unusual about the current bushfire crisis, saying in a Facebook post that there have “always been” bushfires.
Here’s part of that post:
These fires have been a huge challenge and a disaster for so many, but it will rain again and the fires will go out. (And there’ll be bushfires again, as there always have been.) We must pull together in times like these – not politicise or finger point – and that is my fundamental message as we go into Christmas.
And finally, Greta Thunberg had this to say about Australia’s bushfire crisis and lack of response to global heating.
Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg)
Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible?
Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires
That’s what has to change.