BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Officials say large swaths of northeast Australia are enduring unprecedented fire danger, with 138 wildfires across Queensland state forcing schools to be closed and thousands of homes to be evacuated.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the fire danger on Wednesday was rated catastrophic in areas of central Queensland, the first time the highest danger rating has been applied to the state.
She says 34 schools have been closed in the most threatened regions.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll says homes have been destroyed since Saturday in areas where the fire danger remains too high for teams to enter and assess damage. He estimates that fewer than 10 homes have been lost so far.