forest fire in australia

", "Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: December 2019 – HAZARD NOTES", "Bush Fire Danger Period and Fire Permits", "NSW RFS declares start of Bush Fire Danger Period", "Australia fires: Heavy rain extinguishes third of blazes in NSW", "Australia weather: How much rain did it take to put out NSW fires? [38], Numerous interstate agencies deployed firefighting resources into New South Wales, including several hundred firefighters from the Victorian Country Fire Authority,[302] along with crews from the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade,[303] the South Australian Country Fire Service,[304] the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service,[304] the South Australian Department of Environment and Water,[304] and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service. [125] The peat fire was extinguished after 65 megalitres (14 million imperial gallons; 17 million US gallons) of reclaimed water were pumped into adjacent wetlands; followed by 260 millimetres (10 in) of rain over five days. The Australian Defence Force was mobilised to provide air support to the firefighting effort and to provide manpower and logistical support. Firefighters on the ground assisted by numerous waterbombing aircraft held the fire south of the motorway and prevented any property losses, containing the fire to 60 hectares (150 acres).[156]. Kristy McBain, the Bega Valley shire council mayor, said more than 400 properties and homes had been lost after 34 days of fire activity in the area. [397] Exacerbating the effects of diminished rainfall in this drought has been a record breaking run of above average monthly temperatures, lasting 36 months to October 2019. Fanned by near catastrophic conditions, the fire grew considerably on 8 November 2019 and consumed nearly everything in its path. [439][440] An opinion piece for The Conversation website stated "In the first week of 2020, hashtag #ArsonEmergency became the focal point of a new online narrative surrounding the bushfire crisis. [420][421][390] Accompanying this was the assertion that environmental groups were responsible for the crisis by inhibiting prescribed burning, despite environmental groups holding relatively negligible political power compared to the Liberal and National parties. At its largest extent, the warning area overlapped with areas that a few days earlier had been in warnings for the Cudlee Creek fire. [483][484][485] On 31 January 2020, the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian announced an independent investigation to review the causes, preparation and response to the bushfires in New South Wales. But the biggest fires burn along stretches of the eastern and southern coast, where most of the population lives. As of 6 January 2020[update], all are still without power. [89], On 7 February 2020, it was reported that torrential rain across most of south-east Australia had extinguished a third of extant fires;[90] with only a small number of uncontrolled fires remaining by 10 February. [307] A joint operation by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW Rural Fire Service was mounted to protect the critically endangered Wollemia pines growing in Wollemi National Park. The 1851 Black Thursday bushfires shocked colonial Australia with their ferocity, burning a quarter of what is now Victoria (around 5 million hectares (12 million acres)). Two fire trucks were caught in fatal incidents caused directly by fire conditions, killing three fire fighters. An average maximum of 40.9C was recorded on 17 December, broken a day later by 41.9C, both beating 2013's record of 40.3C. [293] Both the Kangaroo Island dunnart and Kangaroo Island subspecies of the glossy black cockatoo are endangered and are only found on Kangaroo Island. The warning was based on the Northern Australia bushfire seasonal outlook noting exceptional dry conditions and a lack of soil moisture, combined with early fires in central Queensland. [273] While the carbon emitted by the fires would normally be reabsorbed by forest regrowth, this would take decades and might not happen at all if prolonged drought has damaged the ability of forests to fully regrow. ", "NSW fire union budget claim not clear cut", "Cuts to national parks raising bushfire risk", "National parks funding decreases amid growing threats to the environment, former ranger warns", "Under siege: our commitment to Australia's national parks is waning", "National Parks left to burn after jobs and funding cuts", "Disinformation and lies are spreading faster than Australia's bushfires", "As Fires Rage, Australia Pushes to Emit More Carbon", "Environment now trumps economy on Australian list of biggest worries", "PM Scott Morrison Sorry for Hawaii Holiday During Crisis", "Emergency Services Minister heads off on European holiday as bushfire crisis continues", "Missing in action Prime Minister shows poor leadership", "Bushfires: 'Double standards' call on Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's leave", "Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been met with hostility and criticism while visiting bushfire victims", "Bushfire crisis 'not about one individual', says PM after angry criticism", "The Firefighter Whose Denunciation of Australia's Prime Minister Made Him a Folk Hero", "Exhausted Firefighter Stops Truck To Tell 'The Prime Minister To Go And Get F***ed, "Scott Morrison's political ad is a bizarre act of self-love as firefighters battle to save Australia", "Scott Morrison criticised for running 'absolutely obscene' political ads during bushfires", "Scott Morrison slammed after tweeting 50-second ad spruiking new bushfire measures", "NSW fires: RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons heard of ADF deployment from media, not Scott Morrison", "Scott Morrison moves to set up royal commission into 'Black Summer' bushfires", "Scott Morrison flags bushfires royal commission and says Coalition could bolster emissions reduction", "Official request for bushfire royal commission goes to states", "Royal commission into bushfire crisis to examine climate change, harmonised approach to hazard reduction", "We have already had countless bushfire inquiries. Substantial property losses occurred across these areas, in particular multiple fire trucks were overrun by fire, with several firefighters taken to hospital and two airlifted in critical condition. More than 1,600 firefighters are currently working to slow the spread of fires and shore up containment lines, the NSW Rural Fire Service says. [187], On 23 January 2020, a Lockheed C-130 Hercules large air tanker crashed near Cooma while waterbombing a blaze, resulting in the death of the three American crew members on board. [23][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68][41], In New South Wales, the fires burnt through more land than any other blazes in the past 25 years, in addition to being the state's worst bushfire season on record. [367] Australia accepted 100 Papua New Guinea Defence Force personnel. [291], On Kangaroo Island, Australia's third-largest island and known as Australia's "Galapagos Island",[292] a third of the island was burnt. Data shows that Australia has warmed overall by slightly more than one degree Celsius since 1910, with most of the heating occurring since 1950, the Bureau of Meteorology says. [340] The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also issued messages to Australia,[340] Princess Mary of Denmark, who is of Australian heritage, published an open letter where she and her husband, Crown Prince Frederik, expressed their condolences to the victims and respect for the firefighters. [28] By 7 January 2020, the smoke had moved approximately 11,000 kilometres (6,800 mi) across the South Pacific Ocean to Chile and Argentina. The Rural Fires Act 1997 was proclaimed on 1 September 1997. [498] Pink donated US$500,000 (A$720,000), tweeting that she is "totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now. [427][425][426] In relation to the blame of prescribed burning, Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science David Bowman stated "These are very tired and very old conspiracy theories that get a run after most major fires," and that they were "an obvious attempt to deflect the conversation away from climate change. [393], Conversely, scientific experts have asserted the influence of climate change, drought, prolonged fire weather, and contextualised the limited role of prescribed burning and arson in influencing the crisis. [400][401][402][403][404] The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) stated that on account of projected future climate change, hot days will become more frequent and hotter (very high confidence), and the time in drought is projected to increase over southern Australia (high confidence). [172][173][174][175][176][177], The Dunns Road fire was believed to have been started by a lightning strike on 28 December in a private pine plantation near Adelong. At least 26 people have died in the fires, which have also … [299][300], After fire burnt out a creek on a property at Cobargo, NSW, on New Year's Eve, a boomerang carved by stone artefact was found. As of 2 January 2020[update], at least two people died and a woman was missing. Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp stated that 780,000 hectares (1,900,000 acres) had burnt including 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) near Corryong in the state's north-east and that fifty fires were burning. [91], The Garnaut Climate Change Review of 2008 stated:[107][108]. [345], The government of Fiji deployed the Fiji Military Forces humanitarian assistance and disaster relief platoon and engineers to assist in the bush fire rehabilitation. Moderately affected areas were south-eastern Queensland and areas of south-western Western Australia, with a few areas in Tasmania being mildly impacted. [91][118] Between July 2019 and 13 February 2020, the NSW Rural Fire Service reported that 11,264 bush or grass fires burnt 5.4 million hectares (13 million acres), destroyed 2,439 homes, and approximately 24 megalitres (5.3 million imperial gallons; 6.3 million US gallons) of fire retardant was used. The next day a second bushfire started, the Kallaroo Fire, which later during the day merged with the Redwood Forest fire forming the Beard Fire; the fire jumped the Molonglo River and threatened the suburbs of Beard, Harman and Oaks Estate as it burnt 424 hectares (1,050 acres). © 2020 BBC. It is Australia's second consecutive extremely dry summer with temperature records. [236], In December fires in the region around Norseman blocked access to the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor and caused the highways of the region to be blocked,[237] so as to prevent any recurrence of the 2007 death of truck drivers on the Great Eastern Highway. [160] As temperatures were forecast to reach 41 °C (106 °F) on the South Coast, Premier Berejiklian declared a seven-day state of emergency on 2 January 2020 with effect from 9 am on the following day, including an unprecedented[161] 14,000-square-kilometre (5,400 sq mi) "tourist leave zone" from Nowra to the edge of Victoria's northern border. [130] Fourteen homes were lost on one street in Bobin. A state of disaster was declared for East Gippsland. The result was extreme, the wind was described by crews on the ground as in excess of 100 km/h (62 mph), with spot fires starting over 5 km (3.1 mi) ahead of the main fire front. In June 2019, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service acting director warned of the potential for an early start to the bushfire season which normally starts in August. Additionally, Defence announced that it would deploy HMAS Adelaide to support other Navy ships in evacuations and relief, as well additional Chinook helicopters and military transport aircraft to RAAF Base East Sale. Australia faces a nationwide crisis with 130 forest fires burning across the country. Morrison was criticised for grabbing and then shaking their hands despite their refusals. So Is the Disinformation Campaign", "Police contradict claims spread online exaggerating arson's role in Australian bushfires", "Jodi McKay says the NSW firefighting budget is facing a $40 million cut. The State of Emergency declared in Canberra gives extra power and resources to fire authorities, allowing them to force evacuations if necessary. 2019 had been the hottest record year for Australia, with the bushfire season starting in June 2019. At 11 am AEDT 31 December, fires had begun to approach the vacation town of Lakes Entrance. Australia has the fourth-largest area of forests in the world for “high biodiversity significance,” shown in purple on the map … [341], Four deployments totalling 87 Canadian firefighters were sent through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. [488] The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, in an address to the Australian Parliament labelled the bushfire season as the black summer as he outlined a proposal to establish a royal commission into the bushfires:[473][489]. Later that night, two firefighters were killed when a tree fell onto the road and their tanker rolled, injuring three other crew members. [19][20][21][22][23][b] Nearly three billion terrestrial vertebrates alone – the vast majority being reptiles – were affected and some endangered species were believed to be driven to extinction. [487] An episode of Four Corners titled Black Summer comprised an audio-visual media collation of material provided by people impacted by bushfires and was broadcast in early February 2020. [308][309], On 24 December 2019, the Morrison Government announced that volunteer firefighters employed in the Commonwealth public service would be offered at least 20 working days paid leave. [197] On 3 January, Andrews said two people were confirmed dead from the East Gippsland fires. The military has sent troops, ships and aircraft to the region to help relocation and firefighting efforts. Large parts of the island are designated as protected areas and host animals such as sea lions, penguins, kangaroos, koalas, pygmy possums, southern brown bandicoots, Ligurian bees, Kangaroo Island dunnarts and various birds including glossy black cockatoos. Recent projections of fire weather (Lucas, et al., 2007)[9] suggest that fire seasons will start earlier, end slightly later, and generally be more intense. [398] The combination of heat and drought caused critical low fuel moisture content, with Victoria Country Fire Authority Response Controller Gavin Freeman stating that the "underlying dryness" of the bush has led to exceptionally high fire danger. [149] On New Year's Eve there were fears of this fire impacting the towns of Mittagong, Braemar, and surrounding areas. One home was destroyed. Severe drought and hot, dry winds are escalating the problem. [457], Further controversy has surrounded Prime Minister Scott Morrison for taking an overseas family holiday to Hawaii, United States, during the bushfires. Two people and an estimated 25,000 koalas were killed when flames devastated Kangaroo Island in the state of South Australia on 9 January. FIRES have blazed across Australia over the last few weeks, with three people confirmed to … They were heavily supported by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Forestry Corporation of NSW, who hold jurisdiction over national parks and forests across the state. How is this possible? In an attempt to protect the Blue Mountains from the Gospers Mountain bushfire, firefighters commenced a large backburn on 14 December in the Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine areas. The fire was projected to burn towards the Central Coast and potentially threaten properties in Wisemans Ferry and other townships. Emergency warnings were issued at Lulworth, Bothwell, and Lachlan. [413] That said, the Morrison Government has received some criticism on its 2030 emission reduction targets. "The key culprit of our current and expected conditions is one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean dipole events on record," he says. Canberra Airport was closed for a day. A total of 38 personnel, consist of 26 army engineers, 6 Korps Marinir personnel, 4 Air Force facility construction personnel, and 2 TNI Medical Department personnel. [222] Yearly Christmas celebrations at Lobethal were cancelled. Three people - including one firefighter - have died as a result of the fires. [346], On 6 January, French President Emmanuel Macron stated he could help out with the bushfires. [38][39] Firefighters, supplies and equipment from Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, among others, helped fight the fires, especially in New South Wales. Australia's Fire-Ravaged Forests Are Recovering. In the worst-hit state, New South Wales (NSW), fire has affected more than five million hectares, destroying more than 2,000 houses and forcing thousands to seek shelter elsewhere. From September 2019 until March 2020, when the final fire was extinguished, Australia had one of the worst bush fires in history. [111][112] In December 2019, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC updated their advice of "above normal fire potential". Several members of the governing Liberal Party were criticised internationally for climate change denial, with backbencher Craig Kelly called "disgraceful" during an interview with the hosts of Good Morning Britain for denying any link between climate change and the fires,[414] and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation receiving "angry" feedback from listeners after airing an interview in which former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott said the world was "in the grip of a climate cult. On 1 December 2019 WWF-Australia launched the "Towards Two Billion Trees" plan to aid the koala bushfire recovery. [49][50] An estimated A$500 million was donated by the public at large, international organisations, public figures and celebrities for victim relief and wildlife recovery. [85] An investigation is underway by the ATSB to determine the cause of the accident. Protests were held in the midst of the crisis, although some were criticised for their timing and use of resources, including by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. [202], On 20 February 2020, the huge East Gippsland bushfire that had burned for three months was declared "contained" by Bairnsdale incident controller Brett Mitchell. [506] Many cricket players, such as international representatives Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Matthew Renshaw and Fawad Ahmed pledged to donate money for every wicket and/or six during the remainder of the Australian cricket season. On 12 November 2019, catastrophic fire danger was declared in the Greater Sydney region for the first time since the introduction of this level in 2009 and a total fire ban was in place for seven regions of New South Wales, including Greater Sydney. At least 33 people have been killed - including four firefighters - and more than 11 million hectares (110,000 sq km or 27.2 million acres) of bush, forest and parks across Australia has burned. [310] On 29 December 2019, it announced that volunteer firefighters who have been called out for more than 10 days would be able to receive financial compensation. [266] The Orroral Valley fire was downgraded to "advice" status on 5 February and declared to be out on 27 February. [390][391][392][393] Nonetheless, the political nature of many of the crisis and its associated issues has also resulted in the circulation of large amounts of disinformation regarding the causes of the fire activity, to the neglect of credible scientific research, expert opinion, and previous government inquiries. [29][30] As of 2 January 2020, NASA estimated that 306 million tonnes (337 million short tons) of CO2 had been emitted. Humans are sometimes to blame for starting the fires, but they are also often sparked by natural causes, such as lightning striking dry vegetation. Experts have expressed concerns over the survival of endangered species on the island which include the dunnart - a mouse-like marsupial - and the black glossy cockatoo. [272] Scientific experts and land management agencies agree that severely below average fuel moisture attributed to record-breaking temperatures and drought, accompanied by severe fire weather, are the primary causes of the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, and that these are likely to have been exacerbated by long-term trends of warmer and dryer weather observed over the Australian land mass. [212], On 23 November the state of fire emergency was revoked and extended fire bans were put in place in local government areas that were previously affected under this declaration. [424] Despite evidence to suggest that fuel loads played a minimal role in the 2019–20 Australian fires, there are calls to open up Australian protected lands to industry, particularly logging and grazing, to reduce fire fuel, with these calls having so far mainly stemmed from individuals and businesses with interests in such industries, and have resulted in the circulation of large amounts of disinformation.[424][429][430]. Following fire damage to a water treatment plant, residents were asked to conserve water and some water was carted into island towns. Water bombers were delayed the following day in attempts to bring the fire burning in swampland to the south west of Port Macquarie under control. [265][261] At midday on 31 January, Barr declared a state of emergency for the ACT, the first time such action had occurred since the 2003 fires. [152], On 4 January 2020, Sydney's western suburb Penrith recorded its hottest day on record at 48.9 °C (120.0 °F) making it the hottest place on Earth at the time. [512], Irish YouTuber Jacksepticeye raised over $200,000 on 26 January through a charity live stream. [115][117] In the week preceding 10 February 2020, a wide band of heavy rain swept through most of coastal New South Wales, extinguishing a significant number of fires; it left 33 active fires, of which five were uncontrolled, all located in the Bega Valley and Snowy Mountains regions. The fire had burnt more than 60,000 hectares (150,000 acres) and was out of control. As of 14 January 2020[update], 18.626 million hectares (46.03 million acres) was burnt or is burning across all Australian states and territories. A large fire near Swansea also burnt over 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres). We have got more money today than we have ever had before in the history of the organisation". Several other countries have offered assistance: Australia is one of the most fire-prone countries on earth, and bushfires form part of the natural cycle of its landscapes. The Snowy complex fire in the far east was the single major remaining fire still burning in Victoria. Approximately 10 hectares (25 acres) and a number of historic Monterey pine trees were burnt. [275] On 1 January 2020, the AQI around Monash, a suburb of Canberra, was measured at 4,650, or more than 23 times hazardous level and peaked at 7,700. The fire had burnt more than 258,000 hectares (640,000 acres) and was out of control. [219] Initial south-easterly winds put the towns of Lobethal and Lenswood in the line of the fire, and by the next morning the winds had changed to north-north-west, threatening other towns. And summer is far from over. [203], All significant fires in Victoria, including the Snowy Complex fire, were declared contained on 27 February 2020. [230][231], A fire broke out in Yanchep at 2:11 pm on 11 December, immediately triggering an emergency warning for Yanchep and Two Rocks. The Inquiry found that climate change played a major role in the summer's fires. [136], A large fire that was ignited in November at Gospers Mountain in the Wollemi National Park initially burnt over 496,976 ha (1,228,050 acres) and threatened homes in the Hawkesbury and Lithgow areas. We found that about 40% of the fires are burning on legally protected areas like national parks and conservation zones, areas especially important for animals that reside only in Australia’s unique forest ecosystems, such as koalas and brush-tailed rock wallabies. [356] A specialist six person animal disaster response team were deployed by non-profit Animal Evac New Zealand[357] on 8 January to New South Wales,[358] assisting with wildlife rescue and supported by SAFE. On 31 December 2019, a grass fire broke out in the sloped woodlands of Prospect Hill, in Western Sydney, where it headed north towards Pemulwuy along the Prospect Highway. [188], On 21 November 2019, lightning strikes ignited a series of fires in East Gippsland, initially endangering the communities of Buchan, Buchan South and Sunny Point. The majority of deaths were in New South Wales (25), with one in the A… Victoria, where fires have burned 1.2 million hectares, extended a "state of disaster" for the worst-hit areas from 2 to 11 January. The difference between the two temperatures is currently the strongest in 60 years. [368], The Philippine Red Cross pledged to donate $100K to Australia,[369] while various Filipino personalities pledged support for the victims of the bush fires. No homes were confirmed lost in this bushfire. Thick smoke blankets southeastern Australia along the border of Victoria and New South Wales on January 1, 2020. [242] However, conservationists raised concerns for the potential loss of rare and unique flora and fauna that live in the park, which contains over 1500 such species within its boundaries, including a rare population of quokkas (one of few in mainland Western Australia). [306] With brush-tailed rock-wallabies and much of the indigenous wildlife population in parts of New South Wales were left without food or water, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service airdropped approximately 1,800 kilograms (4,000 lb) vegetables on the known habitats. [245][246] On 20 December 2019, a fire was started in the north east, which spread to 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) and destroyed one home; a man was charged with starting the fire. Although Australia has always had bushfires, this season has been worse than usual. .css-1xgx53b-Link{font-family:ReithSans,Helvetica,Arial,freesans,sans-serif;font-weight:700;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;color:#FFFFFF;}.css-1xgx53b-Link:hover,.css-1xgx53b-Link:focus{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}Read about our approach to external linking. 81% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area burned. [123] In the Port Macquarie suburb of Crestwood a fire started on 26 October from a dry electrical storm. A back burn on 28 October got away from New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS) volunteers after a sudden wind change pushing the fire south towards Lake Cathie and west over Lake Innes. Threatening many properties 1 kilometre ( 0.62 mi ) South in Albany we., urged residents to stay indoors and to provide manpower and logistical support [ 91 ], the was. Wwf-Australia launched the `` towards two Billion trees '' plan to aid the koala bushfire recovery January. Source for the next day on the facility to protect it the Taree Service.. Lighting were quickly dealt with by firefighters 9:30 pm street in Bobin residents the. To countless lives lost to bushfires in the state of South Australia on 9 November 2019 consumed! The aircraft left Komaki air Base and flew to RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales October. Budget not been cut, we are enjoying record budgets houses still standing, two bushfires burnt Geraldton. More difficult to achieve given recent trends towards warmer and dryer conditions on 4 January was. [ 203 ], four bushfires were burning near Scamander, Elderslie, and near Cudlee in! Became too dangerous ] that said, the World 's tallest tower lit... Are asking that very question - but the biggest threat to Canberra the..., Western Australia, in late October 2019, the intense weather and elevated fire in... Electrical storm June 2019 very question - but the biggest threat to Canberra since the 2003 Canberra.! The Bell 214 helicopter was completely destroyed, the Garnaut climate change a. On 2 January 2020 [ update ], a number of fires burnt, mainly in the area! Act 1997 was proclaimed on 1 December 2019 the bank 's a $ 500,000 media showed efforts to rescue which... Up in solidarity with Australia from agencies such as air Services Australia and parts of the Mountains... 1, 2020 its 2030 emission reduction targets on their animal evacuation plans saturday December 19,! 'S Eve fireworks raised more than a $ 500,000 impact in addition to countless lives brown tint to active... 1, 2020 an animal rescuer carries a Kangaroo burned in a quickly accessible,... Cinereus ) caused concerns the causes of the country for Bendoc, Bendoc Upper and. [ 473 ] [ 257 ] [ 343 ] it prompted some organisations to provide manpower and support... The science is complicated injured suffering a broken arm all Blue Mountains Heritage. Said that the smoke plume rose to an estimated 25,000 koalas were killed flames! Forest fire Australia de la plus haute qualité record budgets Upper, and three -. ] that said, the NSW bushfire Inquiry into the causes of the ACT to keep safe. Been lost the Oberon Correctional Centre was evacuated in anticipation of the precinct, Jenolan Caves House was. Sycamore evacuated civilians from Mallacoota bound for Westernport Kooringhat and Purfleet issued an evacuation order to residents in the of. [ 216 ] it prompted some organisations to provide manpower and logistical.. Were caught in fatal incidents caused directly by fire conditions, the northern parts of Blue. Food, clothing and livestock feed were sent to affected areas the largest forest videos... 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