Thousands of hectares of land have already been burned in a severe bushfire in eastern Australia. A 56-year-old man died while trying to protect his farm from the flames, Australian broadcaster ABC reported. The fire raged near the town of Kempsey, northeast of Sydney. It will take at least a week until the fires are brought under control, it said, citing the New Youth Wales Fire Department. Several properties and buildings are still threatened, said fire department spokesman Ben Shepherd.

“We were almost completely surrounded yesterday,” said a resident of the particularly badly affected town of Temagog. He tried tirelessly to protect his property from the flames. The grass fire spread extremely quickly. High temperatures and strong winds had fanned the flames in recent days.

Authorities had already warned weeks ago that the Australian spring and summer could be the most violent bushfire season since the devastating “Black Summer” of 2019-2020. At that time, weeks of bushfires devastated more than twelve million hectares of land, killing or driving away countless animals.