Australian authorities on Thursday called for another mass evacuation across the heavily populated southeast following a return of hot weather fanned huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities.
AFP reports that Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews urged communities to be on alert ahead of the extreme conditions.
“If you receive instructions to leave, then you must leave,” Andrews said in a televised briefing. “That is the only way to guarantee your safety.”
Parts of Kangaroo Island, a wildlife-rich tourist spot off the southeast coast where Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday made a plea for foreign tourists not to be deterred by the fires, were again evacuated on Thursday.
“I urge everyone to heed warnings, follow advice, and to head to the east part of the island, which is deemed safe at this point,” South Australia Fire Chief Mark Jones said in a separate briefing in Adelaide.
Twenty-seven people have been killed this fire season, according to the federal government, as the monster fires have scorched through more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres) of land, an area the size of South Korea.
Thousands have been made homeless and thousands have had to evacuate repeatedly because of the volatility of the fires.
“It takes a huge amount of rain to put out bushfires of this intensity and of this scale. That’s not forecast,” South Australia Fire Chief Jones told reporters.
Weather officials in South Australia issued a severe weather warning for some parts of the state’s north.
New South Wales fire officials warned of “extreme fire danger” in the state’s alpine region.
Victoria State extended its disaster alert level for another two days.