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Wildfires Ravage Southern Australia

  • Firefighters spray foam on smoldering bush to help reduce reflash fires after a blaze swept through Faulconbridge, west of Sydney, Oct. 24, 2013.
  • Rural Fire Service frefighters take a break after trying to extinguish a fire approaching homes near the Blue Mountains suburb of Faulconbridge, west of Sydney, Oct. 24, 2013.
  • Firefighters control flames during hazard reduction in Bilpin, Australia, Oct. 23, 2013.
  • A female Rural Fire Service firefighter walks through a burnt area after trying to extinguish a small fire approaching homes near the Blue Mountains suburb of Blackheath, west of Sydney, Oct. 23, 2013.
  • Jennifer Schweinsberg and her son David walk around the back yard of their destroyed family home in Sunny Ridge Drive in Winmaleem, near Sydney, Oct. 22, 2013.
  • A firefighter tries to control flames near houses in Bilpin, west of Sydney, Oct. 22, 2013.
  • A firefighter watches as smoke covers a road in Bilpin, west of Sydney, Oct. 22, 2013.
  • Local resident Alan Seaman looks inside a safe in the remains of his home that was destroyed by a fire in the Blue Mountains suburb of Winmalee, west of Sydney, Oct. 21, 2013.
  • Houses can be seen behind a burnt-out car and bicycle after a fire destroyed them in the Blue Mountains suburb of Winmalee, west of Sydney, Oct. 21, 2013.
  • In this photo provided by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, smoke rises from a fire near Lithgow, west of Sydney, Oct. 17, 2013.

Wildfires Ravage Southern Australia

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VOA News
Australian authorities say wildfires burning through the southeastern state of New South Wales have destroyed around 100 homes near Sydney and left one man dead.

Officials said Friday that around 100 fires are burning, fanned by unusually high temperatures and high winds, about a third of which are still uncontained. Hundreds of people spent Thursday night in evacuation centers on the outskirts of Sydney.
The wildfires raging through New South Wales have already destroyed at least 100 homes near Sydney.

Australian authorities warn that more properties were likely to fall victim as the fires burned out of control.
 
“The fire activity that we were being reported was certainly extreme. Certainly we had flame heights in excess of 20 to 30 meters,” said one firefighter.
 
Location of wildfires in southern AustraliaLocation of wildfires in southern Australia
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Location of wildfires in southern Australia
Location of wildfires in southern Australia
The one reported death so far was of a 63-year-old man who had a heart attack as he tried to defend his home.
 
Some areas in the Blue Mountains were expected to reopen as the weather turned milder on Friday.
 
The anticipated change is all too late for those now struggling to come to terms with the loss of their homes and possessions.

Even as the weather starts to change, officials say conditions are still dangerous.

Some information in this report was provided by Reuters.

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