Australia’s heatwave set a new high of almost 50°C as authorities warned that large uncontrolled bushfires would continue to threaten areas in the south-east of the country.
Meanwhile, in remote Moomba, a gas exploration and processing town in the outback of South Australia, the temperature hit 49.6°C by mid-afternoon, making it the hottest of the two-week spell, and 48.6°C in the town of Bourke, 500 miles north-west of Sydney.
In other parts of New South Wales (NSW) authorities fought nearly 100 bushfires with many still out of control. Fire crews also fought blazes in Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland. In the south, firefighters struggled to control a massive bushfire near the town of Cooma, that has burned through 10,000 hectares. In the late afternoon an emergency alert was issued indicating that danger from fire was imminent.
NSW rural fire service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the last week had presented some of the "most atrocious" fire-fighting conditions he had seen in 30 years.
“When it comes to fire, this week will be recognised as one of the worst, if not the worst danger weeks NSW has ever seen,” he added.