Australian Prime Minister's approval rating scorched by forest fires

Warmer temperatures are in the forecast again as devastating wildfires continue to rage in Australia Jeff Paul reports from Bewong

Last week, ecologists at the University of Sydney estimated that almost half a billion animals, including reptiles, mammals and birds, have been wiped out by Australian bushfires since September.

At least 27 people have been killed and more than 25.5 million acres of land burned this fire season in Australia.

Since the last poll Mr Morrison has faced sustained criticism over his handling of the bushfire crisis, especially his decision to take a family holiday in Hawaii. He acknowledged during a television interview on Sunday that he had made some mistakes.

Newspoll showed that Morrison's approval rating dropped 8 points to the lowest level since he assumed the leadership of the Liberal Party in August 2018. He was overtaken by opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

No margin of error was provided for the poll, which surveyed 1,505 people from Wednesday to Saturday, although it was about 2.5% points in previous Newspolls.

Mr Morrison told Speers the bushfire zones "are sensitive, emotional environments" and that there are things on the ground he could have handled differently.

"The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat", Matt Kean, the New South Wales minister for energy and environment, is quoted as saying, according to Reuters.

If that forecast bears out, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said it would be "all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one".

The government has earmarked an initial AU$50 million (US$35 million) to spend on helping with the wildlife recovery.

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A lethal combination of temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit and strong winds, up to 55 miles per hour, are making conditions in Australia particularly unsafe heading into the weekend.

The heavy rains are forecasted to hit the central and northern coasts on Monday, The Guardian reported, with thunderstorms and showers predicted Thursday for most of New South Wales, which has been the hardest hit by the bushfires.

Dale McLean, who is helping manage the response to a fire near the town of Bodalla in New South Wales state, was part of team that was bulldozing down small trees and burning scrub ahead of the fire's projected path to try to stop it from reaching a major highway by starving it of fuel. Authorities say the area received some rain during the day, but this did little to improve conditions.

The government said on Sunday it would provide A$76 million ($52 million) for mental health counseling and healthcare consultations to firefighters, emergency workers, individuals, and communities.

"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", said a spokesperson from the SCC confirmed to 9News.

Mr. Slade's death follows conservative views implying that more than 1 billion animals have so far lost their lives in the fire amid concerns that some species could be lost forever.

People across Australia are calling on the government to implement stronger climate measures.

Dozens of other fires are yet to be controlled. The weather is expected to remain good in the coming week, although a deterioration in the circumstances could cause the forest fires to flare up again.

The fires have emitted 400 megatonnes of carbon dioxide and produced harmful pollutants, the European Union's Copernicus monitoring program said.

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