Dec 28, 2019

Thousands of koalas likely dead in Australia fires

Photo: Nathan Edwards/Getty Images

Thousands of koalas are believed to have died as fires ravage Australia, burning 12.35 million acres so far, AP reports.

Why it matters: Abut 30% of their habitat has already been lost. The fire danger increased in the country's east on Saturday as temperatures continue to rise, per AP.

Go deeper... In photos: Catastrophic wildfires rage across Australia

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Australia's deadly fires: What you need to know

The Australian flag flies under red skies from fires on Jan. 4 in Bruthen, Victoria. Photos: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

The Orroral Valley fire has burned through nearly 25% of the district that's home to Australia's capital, News.com.au reports, after ACT Emergency Controller Georgeina Whelan said the fire was rapidly growing into the south east on Saturday.

The latest: The Orroral fire grew from 81,544 acres to at least 129,073 acres on Saturday, based on Whelan's initial statement, and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr's following estimate. Whelan said the Orroral fire is expected to move "well into" New South Wales, which creates potential for it to reach and merge with other bushfires in the area.

Australia fires: Race to evacuate thousands before conditions worsen

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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 2, 2020

Australia deploys military as thousands stranded by wildfires

An Australian firefighter hosing down trees and flying embers in an effort to secure nearby houses from bushfires near the town of Nowra in New South Wales. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images

Australia's wildfires have claimed another five lives, several people are missing and thousands of people have continued to shelter from fires on beaches at popular tourist spots in two states, authorities say.

The latest: The Australian Defense Force has deployed extra personnel to the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to assist in firefighting efforts, the government confirmed in a statement. The government said it's also sending aid fire-ravaged regions via military ships and aircraft.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 1, 2020