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Fresh crews deployed as major bushfire approaches Australia’s outback town


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Canberra: Reinforcements have been called in to fight a major bushfire in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) as it continues to spread toward the town of Tennant Creek.

Tony Fuller, the chief fire control officer for the NT, told a press conference on Wednesday night that water bombers and fire fighting crews from South Australia (SA) have been called in to help contain the blaze, which has been burning for over a week.

Fuller said that as of Wednesday the fire had burned 10,000 square km of land in the Barkly Region of the NT, approximately 1,000 km south of Darwin, and was being propelled west toward Tennant Creek by winds exceeding 50 km per hour.

Crews worked overnight on Tuesday to establish containment lines around Tennant Creek, with a particular focus on the Gosse River to the east, to slow the fire’s spread and protect the central Australian town of more than 3,000 people.

Fuller said that despite those efforts the fire has breached multiple containment lines.

“Overnight we had some, what we thought were pretty good containment lines in, there was aerial incendiary work done around Gosse River,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“This morning, as the winds picked up, there was a containment line to the north that has been broken and the fire is rapidly going across some country that we’re unable to stop it on.”

“There was aerial bombing, as well as some attempts for some machinery to get in front of it, but the fire is just running too fast, about five or 6 km an hour,” Fuller added. “It may come pretty close to Tennant Creek itself.”

The NT government declared an emergency situation for Tennant Creek on Tuesday, granting authorities additional powers to order evacuations and seize assets if needed.

However, Fuller said on Wednesday that evacuations were not currently being considered.

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