Hundreds flee homes as heatwave fans Australia bushfires

By REUTERS
January 17, 2014 09:57






SYDNEY - Extreme heat and high winds fanned dozens of bushfires across Australia on Friday, prompting hundreds to flee their homes in some of the worst conditions seen since Black Saturday in 2009.

One person died in the Grampians bushland in the southeastern state of Victoria, about 300 km (186 miles) west of Melbourne, where bushfires are burning out of control amid temperatures which have hit above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees F), destroying or damaging houses.

Victoria was the hardest hit, with 70 bushfires burning out of control. Dozens of blazes are burning in South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.

Authorities have issued seven emergency warnings to severely affected areas, prompting hundreds of residents to flee their homes.

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