4 firefighters die as bushfires sweep Australia
January 3, 1998
Australian bushfires have killed four firefighters
Web posted at: 1:37 p.m. EST (1837 GMT)
SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Thousands of firefighters were battling dozens of bushfires raging out of control Saturday as Australia endured a hot, dry, windy summer. Four
firefighters have been killed trying to douse the flames.
"Unfortunately, as we continue to fly across the state, we're
finding more and more fires as a result of lighting storms in
recent days. And that pattern will clearly continue until the
lightening stops or the rain starts," said Rural Fire Service
Commissioner Phil Koperberg.
At least 30 fires were burning in the state of New South
Wales, while in the neighboring state of Victoria, 30,000
hectares (74,000 acres) of bushland were expected to be
Fires were also reported burning out of control in Western
Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.
One firefighter died Thursday when flames engulfed a fire
truck and its crew about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest
of Sydney. The men were fighting a forest fire when a change
in weather conditions forced them to seek safety in the
Firefighter Michael Young nearly died trying to save the
life of a colleague
David Quinlivan, 45, died after turning the fire truck around
to protect his colleagues. Another firefighter, Michael
Young, 31, ignored severe burns to revive a co-worker who was
unconscious. Young was praised for his heroism. He and the
other survivors were in critical condition Friday.
The other three firefighters died in the past four weeks.