Published 5:59 PM EST Jan 2, 2020
Tourists on Australia’s South Coast of New South Wales should leave, U.S. Embassy officials warned Thursday, because of “extreme fire danger” starting Saturday.
The embassy advised people to avoid the area this weekend. New South Wales’s Rural Fire Service map showed a large cluster of wildfires Thursday from south of Brisbane to south of Canberra, Australia’s capital.
The states of Victoria and New South Wales have declared states of emergency that will take effect on Friday. Both governments could make evacuations mandatory as conditions worsen.
More than 200 fires are burning across Victoria and New South Wales, the country’s most populated areas.
Authorities have confirmed at least a dozen fatalities from the fires, which have been burning since October. Wildlife groups fear that millions of animals have died, as well.
It hasn’t helped that Australia has experienced some of its hottest and driest conditions on record in recent weeks.
More: A toddler’s dad died battling wildfires. The 1-year-old boy was awarded his bravery medal
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