MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Residents of a small southern Australian town left their homes or sought refuge on Monday to escape a rapidly spreading forest fire.
Locals in Lucendale, a community of around 550 people 260 kilometers southeast of Adelaide, were warned of the danger by the Rural Firefighting Service (CFS) after the fire cut off roads they could use for evacuation.
“They are now in danger. Take shelter in sturdy buildings. Do not enter or enter this area in a vehicle or on foot,” she said on Twitter.
Most of the state was on full fire alert as temperatures soared to 40 degrees Celsius.
“The fire started after lunch today, propelled by strong winds, high temperatures, and dry fuel loads (meaning the fire spread very quickly,” said the commander of government forces in the state service, from South Australia, Brenton Hastie.
Hastie told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the CFS estimated the fire had destroyed about 16,000 hectares and was likely to damage livestock and agricultural infrastructure.
Aerial footage showed agricultural buildings on fire, and fires were reported in other parts of the country.
(Prepared by Melanie Burton, edited in Spanish by Gabriela Donoso)
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