The Australian authorities ordered the immediate evacuation today of some 8,000 inhabitants who are in the town of Gracemere, threatened by fires burning in the state of Queensland (northeast).
"We are announcing the evacuation from Stanwell to Gracemere, the conditions are catastrophic, we have to have an orderly evacuation," Australian Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The evacuation order was issued after the fire service declared the Capricornia, Central Highlands and Coaldfield disaster areas.
In that area sits Gracemere, a town of just over 11,000 inhabitants located about 515 kilometers northwest of Brisbane, the state capital, and where a forced evacuation in its 150-year history had never been ordered before, according to the The Courier Mail newspaper.
The high temperatures have caused 138 fires, according to the latest data, that have been burning without control for several days in Queensland.
The firefighters' main concern centers on the blaze declared in the Deepwater National Park, 375 kilometers north of Brisbane, which since the weekend has burned more than 20,000 hectares and four houses.
Forecasters predicted temperatures above 40 degrees today, strong winds and the possibility of a sandstorm moving through southeastern Queensland, which could worsen the situation.
The most serious fires that occurred in Australia in recent decades occurred in February 2009 in the state of Victoria (southeast) and caused 173 deaths and 414 injuries, and burned an area of 4,500 square kilometers.
In addition to the fires in Queensland, several suburbs of Sydney, capital of the state of New South Wales (east), were flooded today by unprecedented weather conditions affecting Australia.
Forecasters forecast 200 millimeters of rain and winds of 90 kilometers per hour in Sydney, where, in addition to floods, circulatory chaos and blackouts are registered in several neighborhoods.
The storm, with strong electrical equipment and torrential rains forced to close two of the tracks of the airport of Sydney and to cancel or to delay dozens of national and international flights.