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Heatwave, record wildfires spread across Australia


Staff writers
January 4, 2013 — One of the worst heatwaves to hit Australia is helping to fuel forest fires across the country.


Fire crews struggle to contain wildfires across southern Australia
Fire crews struggle to contain wildfires across southern Australia

Fire crews in Australia are battling a wall of flames as intense wildfires have engulfed the region.

Temperatures have soared above 40C, resulting in one of the most extreme heatwaves in years.

The sweltering temperatures combined with dry conditions has increased the risk for damaging wildfires. "Catastrophic fire danger ratings" are widespread and dozens of homes have already been destroyed.

Residents are doing everything they can to protect their property, but officials say the fear on the ground is "raw and very real."

According to the Australian Prime Minister, around 80% of the country has been affected by the mass of hot air.

Health experts are urging residents to drink plenty of water and stay out of the heat.

Beaches are expected to be packed over the weekend and lifesavers are warning people to pay close attention to the flags that line the waterways.

With files from CNN

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