Residents of two rural villages in fire-struck north-eastern Australia were advised to evacuate yesterday as temperatures soared to 40C and winds reached 50km per hour on the seventh day of bushfires in the region.
Around 115 bushfires are raging in an area the size of Belgium in central and northern Queensland, with several farm buildings burnt down. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advised residents to evacuate the villages of Winfield and Lowmead, 420km north of the state capital Brisbane, as bushfires were about to cut the roads.
More than 160 firefighting crews are battling the blazes which started a week ago in remote areas as temperatures hit 10 degrees above normal after a long drought, turning the tropical north of Australia into a tinderbox. A 21-year-old man was killed by a falling tree as he tried to create a firebreak on Saturday. Bushfires have also broken out on North Stradbroke Island, a popular holiday sport for people in Brisbane just 94km away.
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