As firefighters battle the bushfires weather forecasters on Thursday showed no substantial rain for at least three months. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said there is just a 25% chance that the country’s east coast will receive average rainfall between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28.
The dry conditions will increase temperatures without rainfall and also amplify the fires.
Firefighters are battling over 120 fires in NSW and Queensland. More than 300 homes were destroyed over the past week due to continuous fires.
The death toll along Australia’s east coast has risen to four.
A 58-year-old man’s body was found in northern New South Wales (NSW) on Thursday. Police said he was found in burnt-out bushland near Kempsey.
The discovery follows the deaths of Vivian Chaplain, 69, Julie Fletcher, 63, and George Nole, whose age is unknown. They were found in separate locations in rural NSW.
Fire chiefs have warned the worst of the summer is “still ahead of us”, after expressing alarm at the scale and severity of the spring bushfires.
More than one million hectares have been burnt across the state since September. The greater Sydney area was issued with its first ever “catastrophic” fire warning on Tuesday.
Scientists and experts warned that Australia’s fire season has grown longer and more intense due to climate change.
Officials have confirmed that 2018 and 2017 were Australia’s third and fourth-hottest years on record respectively, and last year the nation experienced its warmest summer on record.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declined to acknowledge climate change while the fires are raging.