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Aylesbury woman returns from Australian fires

After months of drought, a lightning strike began the fires several months ago. 

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 5:44am 14th January 2020. (Updated at 5:50am 14th January 2020) 3-minute read.

Aylesbury woman returns from Australian fires

A woman from Aylesbury has spoken of the horrors of the Australian bush fires.

Sarah Newitt is an Australian who lives in Aylesbury.

Returning home last week was more difficult than usual for Sarah, who visits every two years, because of the intense fires. 

Approximately 12 million acres of land has burnt so far, that's the equivalent of 192 million tennis courts.

Sarah says Australia feels difference at the moment:

"It's really scary. It's eerie. When you're in the fire zones and driving...

"It's sort of like a real greyish reddish sky, and everything is just really quiet... Until the winds start up." 

After months of drought, a lightning strike began the fires several months ago. 

State Emergency Services

A combination of regular winds and high temperatures has caused these fires to grow and has made them difficult to contain.

The winds can pick up embers and create new fires, as well as pushing the fires and changing their direction.

The fires have caused road closures and evacuations, which Sarah says is impacting residents:

"They'll close off main highways. If you think of how big Australia is, some people use that one road to get to and from work, or to and from at all. The road where my brother lives they closed that road off.

"So when they close that road off and once you come out you can't get back in. The police  and emergency services won't let you back in and that is purely for your own safety.

"It happened to me when I was visiting a friend of mine. My brother called to say they had evacuated us again, and I couldn't go back."

Bushfires are not uncommon in Australia, apps like Fires Near Me, can be found on most Australians phones. 

The magnitude and intensity of these blazes has shocked residents and the public. 

State Emergency Services

Sarah says that the consequences will be felt for a long time:

"The farmers have suffered a lot over a period of time with the drought and current fires. But the bushfires have had an impact on not just the people, it's the animals, it's the ecosystem. 

"It's just had a real damaging effect. And it's still going, I think it's about 147 fires going and less than 50% are contained."

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