Southern Australia has been surrounded by flames since last July
In Australia, more than 8 million hectares have been hit by fires between New South Wales, Victoria, Southern Australia and Queensland, in an area that is equal to four fifths of all Italian forests.
Cities like Balmoral, southwest of Sydney, have been completely destroyed by fires. Not far from the famous metropolis, flames have destroyed forests and entire wooded areas, including national parks and protected reserves such as the Blue Mountains, which were home to many rare species of animals and plants.
Australia fires: what has happened
Every year, during the warm season, Australia is affected by many more or less serious fires that destroy dry forests and bush vegetation within a few weeks. In 2019, however, a serious anomaly occurred due to multiple causes, first of all the temperature whose average increased by 1.5 degrees.
In Australia, the seasons are opposite to those of the northern hemisphere, and September, the month in which spring begins, seasonal fires erupt in the eucalyptus and bush forests. This year, however, the fire does not seem willing to move backwards and has invaded even the most humid environments and the forests it usually does not attack, endangering the life of animals and people, threatening the great biodiversity of the continent.
Southern Australia therefore started to burn while the cities at risk were evacuated in advance to allow the inhabitants to escape. So what happened in Mallacoota makes a sensation.
In Mallacoota, a town on the Victoria coast with a little more than 1,000 inhabitants, the evacuation order never came. Upon the arrival of the flames, the inhabitants fled to the ocean and the nearest banks surrounded by a fiery red sky. With the main road cut off, many people abandoned their cars and ran to the shore by foot.
Rescue on board the HMAS Choules
The inhabitants of Mallacoota therefore fled to the beach while racing bushfires encircled the town.
In order to restore calm, the intervention of the Navy was necessary, which arrived to the rescue of the inhabitants on board the HMAS Choules, a 176-meter naval vessel with a weight of 16,000 tons.
As you can see in the video above, the inhabitants were reassured by the Australian Navy and, as a representative explained, ferried inside the HMAS Choules after a short wait:
” We do not have any gunship available at the moment, we are using them to ferry other people on board the HMAS Choules. As soon as they are available, we will take you to the boarding area. I still cannot give you instructions as long as the means of transport do not arrive. But it’s simple. Once you get on board you will be safe, we will do a final count of the boats that will took 10-15 minutes. Once on board, you will be provided with food, water and accommodation”.