A map of the many fires currently burning through Australia show much of the country is surrounded by flames

By Jason Duaine Hahn
January 09, 2020 07:02 PM
Fires in Sydney, Australia
| Credit: David Gray/Getty

Severe weather conditions in Australia this weekend are threatening to undo some of the progress firefighters have made in extinguishing a series of bushfires that have burned through large areas of the country since September.

Residents in the southeast state of Victoria have been asked to evacuate their homes this week as high temperatures hit the region on Friday, The Guardian reports.

“People have a right to stay and defend their property,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, the outlet reported.

“But in putting that plan in place they also have to… make a judgment about: is this fire so severe; if it’s creating its own weather; if you have convection columns that are almost a molten tornado… that might be something that is well beyond the planning that you have done,” he added.

Credit: David Gray/Getty

High temperatures and dry conditions over the last few months have driven the blazes, which have so far burned through more than 24,000 square miles of forest and parks, according to the BBC. At least 25 people have been killed so far while hundreds of homes and buildings have been destroyed.

Credit: Martin Schwartz

The map above, created by PEOPLE, shows all of the areas of the country currently affected by the blazes.

According to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, there are 2,500 firefighters battling 134 fires in the state. Of those blazes, 53 are uncontained.

Temperatures in some parts of the state were expected to reach 104 degrees on Friday.

“I can’t stress this point enough,” Andrews added of asking residents to evacuate Victoria, which shares a border with New South Wales. “The fewer people we have there, the better for everyone.”

More than 200 firefighters are attempting to put out a blaze in the southern part of the country that has destroyed more than a third of Kangaroo Island, according to the Guardian.

Bushfires destroy properties in the township of Hillville
| Credit: Nick Moir/The Sydney Morning Herald/Getty

According to USA Today, dozens of firefighters from Canada and the U.S. were recently deployed to Australia to help fight the fires.

“Armageddon is here. I can’t remember the last time it rained,” Fiona Crispin, a resident of Canberra, Australia’s capital, told the New York Times of the blazes. “Everything is dead and dried up. We miss the fresh air, watching the stars at night and hearing the magpies sing.”

Over 1 billion animals are feared dead due to the blazes, Today reported.