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World Briefing / Australia

Heat wave fuels dozens of wildfires in southeast

February 07, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Volunteers battled to contain dozens of wildfires across southeastern Australia as temperatures soared to record levels and officials warned that conditions were perfect for a deadly inferno.

At least 40 fires were blazing in New South Wales state, and more burned in Victoria and South Australia. Most were in parks and on bush land away from residential areas. Forecasters said a heat wave that has stewed millions of people in the southeast in the last two weeks would peak this weekend with temperatures as high as 117 degrees.

Meanwhile, a vast patch of the outback is underwater in northeastern Australia after weeks of heavy rain. Residents continued mop-up operations or simply stayed inside waiting for the floodwaters to subside.

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