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Cars line up to leave the town of Batemans Bay in New South Wales. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

Australian authorities are racing to evacuate thousands of people stranded in the states of New South Wales and Victoria before high temperatures and strong winds return — with the military helping people escape the deadly wildfires by air and sea.

The latest: Victoria's Premier Dan Andrews declared a state of disaster for six local government areas and the Alpine Resorts overnight — the first time ever in the state. NSW is declaring a seven-day state of emergency, effective Friday morning (local time), state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. It's NSW's third state of emergency during this bushfire season.

The state of play: Australia faces a humanitarian crisis, with gas, food and water beginning to run out on the New South Wales South Coast, 7News reports. There's an elevated fire and heat danger for NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology tweeted Thursday.

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison encountered an angry crowd in the fire-ravaged town of Cobargo, NSW, video footage shows. One asks, "What about the people who are dead, Mr Prime Minister?" Another tells him to "p--s off."

In New South Wales, the NSW Rural Fire Service issued a "tourist leave zone" ahead of the arrival of dangerous conditions Saturday from fires expected to stretch over 150 miles along the South Coast to the state border with Victoria.

In Victoria, state premier Andrews told a news conference 17 people were missing in the East Gippsland fires.

  • An Australian naval ship with a 1,000-person capacity docked off the coast of Malacoota is evacuating many of the 4,000 people sheltering on the beach from fires, authorities said. The HMAS Choules, which specializes in responding to humanitarian crises, is set to conduct several sea evacuations.
  • The Royal Australian Navy has been delivering aid to people in East Gippsland.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

In Western Australia, a Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating was issued for Thursday for the Goldfields region of the state, an area dominated by mining communities, amid searing heat and windy conditions.

In South Australia, the Country Fire Authority issued an extreme fire danger warning for Kangaroo Island, the Mount Lofty Ranges, Lower South East, and the lower Eyre and Yorke peninsulas. Forecasters expect temperatures in the state to hit 108°F, with gusts of wind exceeding 18 mph Friday.

The big picture: At least nine people have died in wildfires since Christmas Day, per the Guardian. The death toll from the fires now stands at 18 since fires began last November, 7News notes.

  • Over 1,000 homes have been destroyed by wildfires and some 150 blazes were still burning in NSW and Victoria, according to 7News.
  • Smoke from the blazes has traveled over 1,200 miles to blanket parts of New Zealand's South Island.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 13 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.