More than 12 million acres have burned so far, an area larger than Switzerland, and the damage is expected to only get worse in the extremely arid conditions that are allowing the fires to spread. The fires are also so hot and so large that they are creating their own weather patterns, which can worsen the conditions.

With more than a month still to go in the fire season, the government announced on Saturday a large-scale use of military assets, a deployment not seen since World War II, experts say. About 3,000 army reservists, along with aircraft and naval ships, are being made available to help with the evacuation and firefighting efforts…

In anticipation of the bad conditions on Saturday, thousands of people were evacuated, largely from communities along the southeastern coast, where the towns swell with tourists during the summer. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that a third Australian Navy ship, the Adelaide, would be used to evacuate people.