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Evacuations Ordered as Fires Near Villages

January 31, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Authorities ordered the evacuation of nine mountain villages as 50-mph winds worsened dozens of wildfires. The blazes burned across an area stretching 185 miles from the nation's capital, Canberra, to the Gippsland region in Victoria state.

The fires, ignited three weeks ago by lightning storms, have destroyed more than 500 homes and hundreds of thousands of acres of forest and grassland.

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