Wildfires rip through Victoria

March 5 2019 by Andrew Tjaardstra

More than 20 fires have been raging across the state of Victoria over the past five days, including three considered “major”.

Firefighters have been battling blazes that have have damaged more than 12,000 hectares in soaring temperatures and prolonged drought conditions.

So far authorities have confirmed that nine structures, including homes, have been damaged.

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, said Victorians are only starting to discover the loss that has occurred. “To all of those who have been experiencing the terrible bushfires in Victoria, our thoughts are with you,” he said.

“Things have improved, but there will be some real losses that will be discovered over the next couple of days in terms of properties and homes.”

Meanwhile, a further 39 fires have been reported on the island state of Tasmania, which has seen record temperatures in recent days, with smoke starting to hover in the Greater Hobart area.

There are likely to be some large claims and losses for insurers and reinsurers from the fires.

In a statement on the extreme weather conditions issued by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, climatologist Lynette Bettio said: “The heat we saw this summer was unprecedented. While the final numbers are yet to be analysed, we know it will be the warmest on record for Australia as a whole, and many individual locations will have broken summer heat records as well.”


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