I used to think Australia was the safest place to be because it would be relatively safe if there was a limited nuclear strike in the Northern hemisphere. But I’ve rethought my emergency plans. It appears that Australia is the first continent to be rendered inhabitable by climate change.

Thousands of people in Australia’s southeastern seaside town of Mallacoota were forced to seek refuge on the beach and even boats in the water early Tuesday as deadly blazes closed in around the popular holiday destination to create an apocalyptic-looking scene of huddled evacuees under dark red skies.

As wildfires grip Australia in one of its worst fire seasons in memory, the threat is especially intense this week in southeastern states such as Victoria and New South Wales, where most of the country’s population lives…

…Fires this week have forced road closures, caused cellphone and power outages, and destroyed homes — and show few signs of relenting. The language in the flurry of alerts from local fire services is dire: “It is too late to leave. Seek shelter in a solid structure to protect yourself. Be aware of the danger of falling trees and branches,” read the bullet points of a Wednesday morning alert…

…In the capital, Canberra, the typical high temperature during December is 81.5 degrees (27.5 Celsius); over the weekend, temperatures hit 100 degrees (37.7 Celsius). The heat this spring and summer has shattered all-time records in Australia. The country had its hottest day on record on Dec. 18, when the national average maximum temperature hit 107.4 degrees (41.9 Celsius), beating the record, which was set the day before.

And, of course, Australians just rejected a party dedicated to tackling climate change in favor of the “Drill, baby, drill” coalition.

Happy New Year!

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