Rain falls on some NSW, Victorian and South Australian bushfire-affected areas, but worse fire conditions are forecast to return. Follow all today’s latest news and live updates
Smoke from the Australian bushfires has again traveled over 10,000 kilometres to South America, and can now be seen in Chile.
Comedian and Instagram star Celeste Barber’s bushfire fundraiser has now hit $40m.
The last bids on Shane Warne’s baggy green was over $300,000 (in less than a day) before the website crashed.
AAP reports that a barge is on its way to Mallacoota to evacuate the remaining people who want to leave the town, after fire tore through it:
A barge is on its way to an isolated Victorian holiday town to rescue the remaining few hundred people cut off after fires destroyed access.
About 300 people who want to leave Mallacoota near the NSW border remain in the fire-ravaged town.
Josh Frydenberg has told the ABC it is too early to even begin putting a figure on the economic cost of the fires to the nation:
Because clearly all those businesses in those communities who have been impacted, been hit at exactly the wrong time of the year, when they’re the busiest time.
So there’s going to be a very significant economic impact, but it is too early to tell what that full impact will be but, like I said, our priority, with the unprecedented call-out of the defence force, with the movement of Chinook helicopters and Black Hawks ferrying the firefighters to the most difficult terrain, the use of amphibious vessels to evacuate people from places like Mallacoota, the delivery of 18,000 litres of fuel, which the ADF did the other day to people in need, this is what we’re focusing on, getting the Australian Tax Office to give a two-month reprieve to people to put in payments, the work that we’re doing with Centrelink.
The UK has also offered Australia support.
Our hearts go out to all those in Australia affected by these devastating fires. I have been in touch with PM @ScottMorrisonMP to offer any assistance we can provide. We stand with you at this very difficult time.
The state response controller, Gavin Freeman, spoke to the ABC about the Victorian fire situation, stressing that small rainfall is not enough:
Look, we don’t want to sound ungrateful. Any rain is very welcome.
But we need significantly more rain to make any impact on these fires. What it has done over the last 24 hours is calmed and slowed fire behaviour and stopped the forward progress of the fire. So, that’s a good thing.
Look, it won’t take much at all. The underlying dryness, because of the drought, is pretty severe. So, this little bit of rain will quickly evaporate once we get those warmer conditions on Thursday and Friday, and that little bit of wind, of course, and those fires will take off again. They are in that alpine country, in heavy fuel. It’s not like it’s light fuel that can easily be put out.
Also “weather girl”. Laura Tobin has a degree in physics and meteorology from the University of Reading.
I really don’t think Kelly minds going on TV/radio and getting a belting. It suits his purposes pic.twitter.com/1MqMRhuLSM
Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg will meet with the Insurance Council of Australia today, as well as bank CEOs, to discuss the response to the bushfire crisis.
The Insurance Council estimates the disaster has surpassed $700m in claims.
Asked if Scott Morrison’s initial response to the crisis was embarrassing for the nation, Craig Kelly says:
Absolutely not. In fact, what has been disappointing is that we are a very stoic nation. We have had disasters in the past. Everyone has got behind the leader, we have got in there, done our best to clean it up.
But unfortunately, during an international tragedy, we have seen people actually trying to exploit it for political advantage.
“There is no denialist cult,” Craig Kelly says, about views about climate change within the Morrison government.
He says the debate should be about hazard reduction. Which has already been explained about a million times.
“The weather girl had no idea what she was talking about,” Craig Kelly says.
“She says the Australia continent is drying out and that is just not true.”
On what Craig Kelly says his colleagues will think:
I think they will think that I have been out there, defending our nation.
Craig Kelly is on ABC radio now, making the same points he made on the BBC and British television.
He denies he embarrassed the prime minister and says he will continue to defend Scott Morrison.
Cold Chisel, Birds of Tokyo and Magic Dirt have cancelled their Day on the Green concert at Rutherglen in Victoria because of the hazardous air quality.
From the promoter Michael Newton’s statement:
We are extremely disappointed to cancel today’s event at All Saints Estate but the unsafe conditions give us no other option. Our first priority is the safety of patrons, staff and artists and with air quality on the site and in surrounding areas now at a hazardous level, we have no other option but to cancel today’s show.
The Coalition backbencher Craig Kelly has been trending on Twitter most of the night after agreeing to this interview with Piers Morgan on UK breakfast television.
Craig Kelly MP defends Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s response to the wildfire crisis and says there isn’t a link between climate change and bushfires.@piersmorgan | @susannareid100 | #GMB pic.twitter.com/Mz0dxJSK5T
Firefighters in NSW and Victoria are seizing another day of cooler temperatures and lower winds to try to get ahead of the fires which have blazed across at least 4.9m hectares.
Firefighters will use more favourable conditions to continue work on strengthening containment lines today. Use this time as well to prepare your property and discuss your bush fire survival plan with your family, ahead of forecast worsening conditions this Friday. #NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/SEfDxGVJbd
Emergency services are working hard to clear fire affected roads, as fire can impact road surfaces and cause structural damage.