Australia fires: Heartbreak as firefighter killed battling bushfires | World | News

The Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighter from Parks Victoria died while battling a blaze in the Omea area on Saturday. Forest Fires Management chief fire officer Chris Hartman said in a statement: “Family and fellow emergency personnel are being informed and will be supported. “The safety and wellbeing of our people is our highest priority.”

The firefighter’s death will be investigated by Victoria Police, who will prepare a report for the coroner.

A spokesman from the State Control Centre (SCC) of Victoria told 9News: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that a Forest Fire Management Firefighter from Parks Victoria has been involved in an incident while working on a fire in the Omeo area resulting in a fatality.

“Family and fellow emergency personal have been informed and will be supported.”

The SCC claimed the death was being investigated and a report will be prepared for the state coroner.

It added: “The safety and wellbeing of our people is our highest priority.

“The matter is being investigated by Victoria Police who will prepare a report for the coroner.”

The tragedy brings the death toll in Victoria to four.

Another Forest Fires Management worker died on January 3, AAP reported.

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A further three died in South Australia and four in Victoria.

Wildfires across the country have destroyed 2,000 homes and devastated swathes of natural habitat over the last few weeks.

At least half a billion animals were killed in the blazes.

The country braced for more devastation on Friday as three bushfires merged into one gigantic blaze in New South Wales.

A strong wind change brought 90km/h gusts to dangerous fire grounds in the Snowy Mountains.

The Rural Fire Service warned hot, dry and windy conditions made the bushfires hard to contain.

Matthew Doran, federal political reporter at ABC News, tweeted: “The RFS and the CFA have been worried about it happening since New Years, and it looks like it’s now happened.

“The Dunns Road fire burning in southern NSW and the Green Valley-Corryong fire burning in NE Victoria have merged.”

Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, told a televised briefing: “Even with rain in Melbourne, even with forecast better conditions next week, there is a long way to go in what has been an unprecedented fire event and, of course, we know that we have many weeks of the fire season to run.”

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