Thousands of Australian residents, tourists forced to flee to shore amid wildfires

Thousands of Australian residents, tourists forced to flee to shore amid wildfires
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Thousands of Australian residents and tourists are being forced to flee to its southeastern shore amid the wildfires decimating much of the country, news outlets reported Tuesday.

Evacuees faced apocalyptic scenes as they took to the beaches to avoid the flames in the states of Victoria and New South Wales after the warmest decade on record, according to The New York Times. Thousands were left in evacuation centers, and tens of thousands of others were without power.

Approximately 4,000 people escaped to the beaches into the water in Mallacoota, a family camping spot, while hundreds of families left their homes in Batemans Bay, New South Whales, on Tuesday, CNN reported.  

The death toll has risen to at least 11 after a volunteer firefighter and a father and son died in New South Whales, according to the Times. Four people are missing in Victoria, CNN reported. 

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The fires began over the weekend due to dry lightning and were intensified by high winds and hot weather. A total of 100 fires were burning in New South Whales on Tuesday, with 60 percent still needing to be contained. In Victoria, 70 new fires erupted Monday, and 20 of those are still active, according to CNN.

Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said 200,000 hectares have already been burned across the state, reportedly calling it a "dynamic and dangerous situation." Crisp added some communities are isolated and food packs and supplies are being put together to send. 

Meteorologists expect the weather to improve in the next 24 hours but then worsen again by the end of the work. 

Sydney, which has experienced heavy smoke from the fires, still put on its annual fireworks show for New Year’s Eve, despite a Change.org petition calling for the displays cancellation.