18 Jan 2013

Bushfires claim life in Victoria

9:29 pm on 18 January 2013

Emergency warnings are in place for bushfires raging across Victoria and New South Wales on Friday.

The Country Fire Authority says a number of homes have been lost around Gippsland in south-eastern Victoria.

Officials confirmed on Friday that a man died in a bushfire in the Seaton-Dawson area about 200km from Melbourne. The body was found in a burnt-out car, where at least one home and as many as five in the area have been destroyed, AAP reports.

The fire has burnt through an area of around 48,000 hectares and will continue to burn and threaten communities for weeks to come, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said.

The blaze began in the Baw Baw National Park on Thursday and tripled in size overnight, forcing the early morning evacuation of homes in Seaton, Licola and Heyfield.

In New South Wales, fire crews are contending with winds sparking spot fires as they fight a huge blaze that broke through containment lines in the northwest of the state near the town of Coonabarabran, ABC reports.

Firefighters are facing their most difficult conditions since the initial blaze ripped through the Warrumbungle region on Sunday.

The fire broke through containment lines early on Friday morning and quickly moved through grassland.

Sydney swelters

Sydney has been experiencing its hottest day on record, with temperatures reaching nearly 46 degrees Celsius.

A temperature of 45.8C was recorded at Observatory Hill in the city at 2.55pm on Friday (local time).

Some areas in the wider Sydney region were even hotter, with the town of Penrith registering 46.5C.