Australia's Victoria state uses virtual reality warnings for major bushfires

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Extreme summer temperatures have been forecast to hit Victoria and other southeastern areas from this week, with authorities issuing fire bans in Victoria and island state Tasmania. Australians were also hit with one of their driest winters last year, prompting warnings about severe fires.

The "confronting" VR experience is recommended for viewers aged 17 and older, and will be rolled out in at least four areas in the state at cinema events over the coming weeks.

"We don't want people to experience a fire in reality," Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley was quoted as saying.

SYDNEY, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Victoria state authorities are using a virtual reality simulation program presenting worst-case scenarios to help residents better prepare for major bushfire threats, local media reported on Friday.

"What we want them to do is to learn from the experience of fire, so the virtual reality option is a fantastic way of doing that."

The program, which can be accessed online via virtual reality headsets, projects fast-spreading flames, thick smoke and other accompanying effects to warn users of the deadly consequences of reacting too slowly to the infernos, the ABC News channel reported.

Australia experienced one of its worst bushfire disasters on and around Saturday, Feb 7, 30009, when a series of the blazes raging across Victoria resulted in more than 170 people dead and over 300 others injured. The "Black Saturday" bushfires displaced more than 7,30000 people and damaged over 3,30000 structures.