Asia Minute: Australia Starts Its Summer With Heat And Fires

Dec 7, 2020

While parts of the mainland U.S. are facing snow and freezing rain, much of Australia has been broiling through record heat. And that’s raising concerns about the potential spread of bush fires.

Australia recently closed out its hottest November on record.

About a week ago, Sydney had back to back days with temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius — more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the first time that’s happened in more than 160 years, while temperatures on other recent days have approached 110 degrees.

Hot weather is expected to move through the eastern state of Queensland in the early part of this week.

Crews have already been battling bushfires there — including one that has burned across the world’s largest sand island.

Firefighters have been struggling with the flames on Fraser Island for more than seven weeks, where nearly half of a national park has been destroyed.

The threat of further wildfires is worrying crews and officials as the country moves further into its summer — which just started this past Tuesday.

The peak time for the hottest weather across Australia is usually January.

Last year was the hottest that Australia has experienced since record-keeping began with annual temperatures, but national forecasters say 2020 could be headed for a new record.