Australian resorts have today switched on their snow guns in a desperate last-ditch effort to save themselves from a huge wild-fire, which has been burning out of control for days.
The snowguns, which traditionally fall silent in late winter, are being cranked up across the resorts of Perisher and Thredbo in southern New South Wales, to spray the landscape with life-saving water. This is the second time the snow guns have been used in recent decades, the last in 2003, when wild fires also threatened the Aussie resorts.
One local was quoted as saying… “this feels more desperate than in 2003, because fire-fighting resources across NSW and Victoria are stretched to breaking point, leaving resorts less protected than in the past…”.
The smoke plumes from the fires stretch more than 2000 km to the east, reaching as far as New Zealand, where smoke and ash has turned the New Zealand glaciers brown.
These latest fires threatening the Australian alpine region are just a few of the hundreds of fires currently burning across Australia, which have so far burnt-out up to 6 million hectares (or 14 million acres) – an area roughly the size of Denmark and the Netherlands combined.
The fire emergency has led to the biggest evacuations seen in Australian history, with 10s of thousands of people forced to leave their homes and flee to nearby cities.
Our thoughts are with the firefighters and affected people today as the fight continues.