Firefighter dies as Australia works on long-term battle plan

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In this image made from video, an aerial view shows wildfires in the forests of Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, Dec. 31, 2019. Wildfires burning across Australia’s two most-populous states have trapped residents of a seaside town in apocalyptic conditions, destroyed many properties and caused at least two fatalities. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Channel 7, Channel 9 via AP)

BURRAGATE, Australia (AP) – A firefighter has been killed by a falling tree while battling the Australian wildfire crisis and the prime minister says his government is adapting and building resilience to the fire danger posed by climate change.

The tragedy brings the death toll to at least 27 people in a crisis that has destroyed more than 2,000 homes and scorched an area larger than the U.S. state of Indiana since September.

Four of the casualties are firefighters. The crisis has brought accusations that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government needs to take more action to counter climate change.

Morrison says his government is developing a disaster risk reduction framework dealing with wildfires, cyclones, floods and drought.

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