Australia Wildfire Map Update: Government Pledges $2 Billion in Aid as Tropical Cyclone Blake Looms

Wildfires are continuing to spread across Australia, with the country's government pledging to pay "whatever it takes" to help people and wildlife recover.

As reported by The Associated Press, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his government is committing an extra A$2 billion ($1.4 billion) in addition to the millions of dollars already promised. The PM commented that if more money was needed, "more will be provided."

Victoria Fire Map
Bushfires in Victoria, Australia Victoria Government

The pledge came as two more people were reported missing in New South Wales (NSW), with at least 24 people killed nationwide. AP reported that 2,000 homes have been destroyed by bushfires, which have burned through an area twice the size of Maryland.

Morrison has been criticized by some following his absence from the country during the outbreak of bushfires. A video shows residents living in the bushfire danger zone, angry with the government's response to the fires, heckle the PM during his visit there last week.

The latest fire map from My Fire Watch shows while there are more fires less than 12 hours old, most of them are currently "under control." Rain and cooler temperatures will reduce the risk of fire spread today. However, it is expected the temperatures will rise later this week.

Oz Wildfire Map Latest Update Jan 6
Burnt trees are pictured in the Wingello State Forest on January 06, 2020 in Wingello, Australia. Cooler conditions and light rain has provided some relief for firefighters in NSW who continue to battle bushfires across the state. Army Reserve forces and other specialist capabilities have been called in to help with firefighting efforts across Australia, along with extra Defence ships and helicopters. 14 people have now died in the fires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia since New Year's Eve. Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
New South Wales Fire Map
New South Wales bushfires New South Wales Government

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is seeing an additional threat, with a change in wind direction causing smoke to blow across the region from NSW. A State of Emergency has been declared. There could also be a risk posed by Tropical Cyclone Blake, whose current path is projected to sweep past Cape Leveque and develop to the north of Broome. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the cyclone is likely to "track close to the Dampier Peninsula" with gales and heavy likely over the northwest Kimberley coast.

The state of Victoria is also issuing warnings over "smoky conditions" with residents advised to minimize time spent outside. According to an alert issued by VicEmergency, if maximum visibility is 0.9 miles or less, the air quality falls into hazardous levels. The organization says people should limit their time outdoors, limit exercise and follow any treatment plans during this time, as well as consider relocating outside the smoke affected area until "there is a sustained improvement in air quality."

The state has also issued a "Watch and Act" message for the areas of Biggara, Tintadra, Towong, Walwa, Berringama, Burrowye, Koetong, Lucyvale, Nariel Valley, Shelley and others. VicEmergency says that a bushfire 8 miles west-northwest of Walwa is not yet under control and there is potential for fires to merge with other fires currently burning in NSW due to higher temperatures later on in the week.

Evacuation Center Australia 2020
In this handout provided by the Australian Department of Defence, The crew of HMAS Adelaide construct portable bedding in preparation for embarking evacuees, on January 5, 2020 at Sydney, Australia. HMAS Adelaide departed Sydney to assist with bushfire evacuations on the South Coast of New South Wales. Army Reserve forces and other specialist capabilities have been called in to help with firefighting efforts across Australia, along with extra Defence ships and helicopters. 14 people have now died in the fires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia since New Year's Eve. POIS Tom Gibson / Australian Department of Defence via Getty Images
South Australian Fire Map
South Australian bushfires South Australian Country Fire Service

Temperatures are forecast to increase by the end of this week and have the potential to increase fire activity. There is potential for this fire to merge with other fires currently burning nearby in Victoria and in NSW.

For those in need, relief centers have been established at:

  • Corryong, High School, Towong Street
  • Tallangatta, Memorial Hall, Towong Street
  • Wodonga, The Cube, 118 Hovell Street
  • Wangaratta, Performing Arts Centre, 33 Ford Street
  • For those with animals, Wangaratta Showgrounds at Golf Links Lane
  • Wodonga Showgrounds Wilson Street for self-sufficient community members with pets (Short term)
  • Australian Defence Force Relief Accommodation at Latchford Barracks, Bonegilla, Wodonga. People need to register to stay at this location at the Wodonga Relief Centre or Tallangatta Relief Centre
Burnt trees and debris Victoria
Burnt trees and debris cover the road on January 5, 2020 outside Cann River along the Monaro Highway, Australia. Two people are dead and 4 remain unaccounted for as bushfires continue to burn across the East Gippsland area. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has declared a state of disaster in the region, compelling residents in threatened areas to evacuate. Thousands of people remain stranded in the coastal town of Mallacoota and are being evacuated by navy ships to Melbourne. Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Western Australia Fire Map
Western Australia bushfires Government of Western Australia

Newsweek readers who would like to join celebrities such as Pink and Nicole Kidman in supporting the efforts in Australia to help animals and people affected by the bushfires can learn more here.

Correction (1/9/20, 5 p.m. ET): This article was updated to correct maps on areas affected by brushfire.

Australia Wildfire Map Update: Government Pledges $2 Billion in Aid as Tropical Cyclone Blake Looms | U.S.