Australia has 'yet to hit the worst' of fires

Tim O'Donnell

Things may get worse before they get better in Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison — who has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the situation — announced Saturday that 3,000 reservists from the country's military will be called up to help fight the brush fires that have been spreading during one of Australia's worst wildfire seasons ever. Reservists who are fighting to save their own homes from the fires will be exempt from service, The New York Times reports. The government is also deploying another naval ship to assist with evacuations.

"Volatile" conditions in the southeastern state of New South Wales — where the fires have done serious damage — on Saturday include high winds and temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which will likely exacerbate the flames, BBC reports. The New South Wales fire department is expecting more houses will be lost over the weekend, and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state had "yet to hit the worst of it."

In total, 23 people have died, as have countless animals, more than 1,300 homes have been destroyed, and tens of thousands of acres of national park and forest land have burned since the fires began in September. Read more at The New York Times and BBC.

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