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Australian wildfires destroy more than 30 homes

More than 30 homes have been razed in the worst fire conditions Australia has seen since a 2009 inferno killed 173 people, with flames threatening the country's second-largest city, officials said Monday. Hot, dry winds and soaring temperatures fanned scores of major blazes across the southeast on Sunday, with Victoria state sweltering through its worst fire risk weather in five years. "They were ferocious fires, they ran hard, they hit homes," said fire commissioner Craig Lapsley.

Australian wildfires destroy at least 20 homes

At least 20 homes have been razed in the worst fire conditions Australia has seen since a deadly 2009 inferno which killed 173 people, with flames threatening the country's second-largest city, officials said Monday. Hot, dry winds and soaring temperatures fanned scores of major blazes across the southeast on Sunday, with Victoria state sweltering through its worst fire risk weather in five years. "They were ferocious fires, they ran hard, they hit homes," said fire commissioner Craig Lapsley.

Easing conditions help Australian fire crews

Easing conditions Sunday helped Australian fire crews battling major wildfires that destroyed 25 homes in the nation's southeast following a week-long heatwave, with warnings of a long and dangerous season ahead. Firefighters in South Australia and Victoria states said they had gained the upper hand over a series of blazes which started this week during a scorching heatwave that brought temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for several consecutive days.

Australia fire chief says 'worst behind us'

The worst of the bushfires in Australia's state of Victoria appeared to be over Saturday, officials said, as firefighters battling the blazes welcomed cooler conditions after days of extreme heat. Four homes were lost in a fire in the Grampians region, in western Victoria, where a massive 52,000-hectare blaze had threatened townships and prompted the evacuation of holiday spots. Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the fires across the state, most of which were sparked by lightning, had burned through 100,000 hectares and 34 blazes were still burning.

Australian fires turn deadly as heatwave scorches

Skies over southeastern Australia darkened with huge plumes of smoke and lightning storms Friday after an epic heatwave, with raging wildfires claiming one life and residents warned to "leave and live". A cool change began sweeping the states of South Australia and Victoria as evening fell, bringing much-needed relief to millions of residents who have sweltered through up to five days of scorching temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Australian fires turn deadly as heatwave scorches

Skies over southeastern Australia darkened with huge plumes of smoke and lightning storms Friday after an epic heatwave, with raging wildfires claiming one life and residents warned to "leave and live". A cool change began sweeping the states of South Australia and Victoria as evening fell, bringing much-needed relief to millions of residents who have sweltered through up to five days of scorching temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Hundreds flee homes as heatwave fans Australia bushfires

SYDNEY (Reuters) - 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.

Australian fires turn deadly as heatwave scorches

One person died and officials warned that more lives could be lost as major bushfires raged across southeastern Australia Friday in heatwave conditions, with residents urged to heed warnings of "leave and live". Police said the body was found in a house at Roses Gap in the the Grampians National Park west of Melbourne, currently sweltering through a major heatwave this week. "Sadly, we've lost one person at Roses Gap. Police located the body of a person earlier this morning... in a house," said police commissioner Ken Lay. "The death appears to be fire related."

Tennis: Extreme heat forces rare Aussie Open suspension

Extreme heat forced organisers to suspend play for several hours at the Australian Open Thursday, following days of complaints about "inhumane" conditions which left some players fainting and vomiting. With temperatures hitting 42 Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit), officials finally called a halt just before 2:00 pm (0300 GMT), hauling players off courts and closing the roofs on the two main arenas. The rare shutdown was the first in five years and follows near-record heat in Melbourne which buckled tramlines and prompted 1,000 bushfires in the surrounding state.

Australian heatwave set to worsen as fires rage

Australians sweltering through a severe heatwave were warned Thursday that the worst is yet to come, with hundreds of fires raging in several states and temperatures nearing record highs. Most of southeast Australia has been sizzling in a heatwave that triggered a devastating wildfire on the west coast, razing 55 homes and claiming one life on Sunday.
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