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Published on Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Holidaymakers among thousands taking refuge on beaches from Australian wildfires

Holidaymakers are among thousands taking refuge on beaches to escape wildfires in Australia.

Four thousand headed to the beach in the town of Mallacoota in Victoria after the main road was cut off.

Several properties have been destroyed in the seaside town and military aircraft are preparing to be deployed to rescue those stranded after they ignored an order to evacuate.

Some of those in the town have posted images of red skies on social media.

The premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, said there were plans to evacuate the trapped people by sea.

He also called for more firefighters from the US and Canada to help.

A number of other towns have been affected as more than 200 fires have started in the state since Monday.

In Corryong, in the north of Victoria, the situation was improving after a wind change, although fires were still burning on Tuesday afternoon.

Sydney continues to be covered by thick smoke and the city's New Year's Eve firework display is set to go ahead, despite thousands signing a petition calling for it to be stopped.

Four people in Victoria are missing, while a father and son have died in New South Wales.

Police have warned all telecommunications, including mobile phone coverage, will be lost tonight on the NSW South Coast, between Nowra and Moruya.

According to Reuters, NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said: "It's going to be a very long, difficult dangerous night still ahead. It's going to be another difficult day again tomorrow."

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