Residents of a coastal township on Australia's World Heritage-listed Fraser Island were told to evacuate on Sunday as a bushfire approached. Since it was sparked by an illegal campfire seven weeks ago, the blaze has blackened half the island off Australia's northeastern coast, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef and famed for its tropical rainforest on sand dunes, and inland lakes.
Residents of Happy Valley had a small reprieve after the blaze lessened in intensity on Sunday afternoon, Queensland state emergency services commissioner Greg Leach told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Officials said that there were more than 90 personnel, 38 vehicles and 17 aircraft working on Fraser Island, including a large air tanker based in the state for the bushfire season and another tanker on the way from New South Wales state.
Baking temperatures across Queensland last week caused peak bushfire conditions, with emergency services currently attending to 48 fires.
Australia has been experiencing hotter and longer summers, with last season dubbed "Black Summer" by Prime Minister Scott Morrison due to unusually prolonged and intense bushfires that burned nearly 12 million hectares (30 million acres) and killed 33 people and an estimated 1 billion animals.
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