At least 15 people are now believed to have died, while scores remain missing
The Associated Press · Posted: Jan 01, 2020 8:28 AM ET | Last Updated: 30 minutes ago
Australia deployed military ships and aircraft Wednesday to help communities ravaged by deadly wildfires that have sent thousands of residents and tourists fleeing to the shoreline.
Authorities have urged a mass exodus from several towns on Australia’s southeast coast, an area that is hugely popular in the current summer peak holiday season, warning that extreme heat forecast for the weekend will further stoke raging fires.
“It is vital, critical,” New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance said on Australian Broadcasting Corporation television. “We need everybody to leave. We are going to face a worse day on Saturday than what we have been through.”
Navy ships and military aircraft were bringing water, food and fuel to towns where supplies were depleted and roads were cut off by the fires. Authorities confirmed three bodies were found Wednesday at Lake Conjola on the south coast of New South Wales, bringing the death toll in the state to at least 15.
More than 175 homes have been destroyed in the region.