A group of Canadian firefighters are also assisting in Australia for the first time to tackle the bushfires which have so far killed at least 15 people, destroyed nearly 1300 homes, and burned more than 3.6 million hectares-three times the size of Sydney's metro area-Stephen Tulle, duty officer with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center (CIFFC), told CBC.
The fires, which number at least 200, have killed 18 people since they started burning in September. Fires are also burning in the states of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
She said: "Given forecast weather conditions on Saturday & the unpredictable nature of current firefront's, a State of Emergency has been declared for seven days commencing tomorrow morning". About five million hectares of land have burned, at least 19 people have been killed and more than 1,400 homes have been destroyed.
Thousands have already fled fire-threatened areas in Victoria and Crisp urged more people to leave. "It's going to be a very hard day", NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said. "If you don't need to be in the area, you need to leave".
He made the remarks in Bairnsdale, Victoria, where he received a warmer welcome than he had in another wildfire-ravaged town a day earlier.
Almost a half-billion animals have been affected by the wildfires raging across Australia, experts said Thursday - as the residents in one fire-ravaged area jeered the country's prime minister out of town.More news: Nikki Bella Announces Engagement to 'Dancing With The Stars' Partner
Australia's iconic animal the koala is becoming a symbol of the devastation wrought by the wildfires spreading across the country.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers warned the fires could move "frighteningly quick". People are hurting. People are raw. "Whether they are angry with me or they are angry about the situation, all I know is they are hurting and it's my job to be there to try and offer some comfort and support".
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons presents a posthumous Commendation for Bravery and Service to the son of RFS volunteer Geoffrey Keaton at Keaton's funeral in Buxton, New South Wales, on January 2, 2020, in this picture obtained from social media.
In an interview late Friday with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's A Current Affair, Morrison was defensive about his handling of the crisis.
"I listen to the fire chiefs that are in their jobs now", he said. Morrison said the National Security Committee of the Cabinet would meet on Monday to consider bringing in more Defence Force ships and helicopters "as well as the longer-term response and some issues we have identified to consider amongst premiers after the fires".
Maps of active fires are displayed in the emergency centre on Friday in Melbourne, Australia.More news: Zlatan Ibrahimovic embraces 'top-level challenge' at AC Milan
"There's been different receptions", he said, adding "where I was yesterday particularly they are very raw".
According to Antti Lipponen, a research scientist at Finnish Meteorological Institute, the area of thick smoke is larger than the area of European Union and more than 14 times the area of Japan.
Smoke from the wildfires has choked air quality and turned daytime skies to near-nighttime darkness in the worst-hit areas.
"We're getting a lot of lessons out of this and it's just showing how unprepared we are".
As devastating bushfires rage on in Australia, covering an area twice the size of Wales and incinerating some 500 million animals, forecasters are predicting the worst is yet to come, forcing record evacuations in the east. In what he called "highly conservative estimates", he included most mammals, birds and reptiles, but excluded insects, bats and frogs. The colour change may cause more melting since the glaciers will reflect less sunlight.More news: Drugmakers Hike 2020 Medicine Prices Despite US Lawmakers' Ire