Adelaide was confirmed as the hottest city in the world on Thursday, with the mercury hitting 43.5°C as much of Australia continued to swelter. In Melbourne, tennis officials applied the extreme heat policy as players struggled to keep cool.
Country fire service crews in South Australia are battling several fires across the state as they gear up for another day of near record temperatures on Friday.
Fire authorities in Victoria and South Australia have issued warnings over several out-of-control bushfires as heatwave conditions persist in south-eastern Australia. The states are bearing the brunt of near-record heat, while the ACT is also weathering scorching temperatures, the ABC reports.
Victorian fire authorities have issued warnings over two out-of-control bushfires burning near the Grampians National Park and one in the Big Desert National Park near Telopea Downs.
Hundreds of firefighters have been deployed along with eight water-bombing planes to the Grampians fires, while residents have been advised to leave their homes immediately.
An emergency warning has also been issued for an out-of-control fire burning in Bangor in South Australia's Southern Flinders Ranges near Port Germein Gorge.
Adelaide was confirmed as the hottest city soon after midday and was forecast to reach 46°C. Melbourne is facing its longest run of 40°C days since 1908, when there were five straight. The temperature didn't drop below 27.2°C in the Victorian capital overnight.
Extreme heat policy at tennis
At the Australian Open, tennis officials have applied the extreme heat policy for the first time this week, with temperatures consistently above 40°C at Melbourne Park since Tuesday.
The ruling meant matches underway in the afternoon were suspended at the conclusion of the set and no scheduled matches on outside courts started until 6pm (AEDT), the ABC reports.
Maria Sharapova said she felt close to fainting during her second-round singles match-up against Italy's Karin Knapp, which the Russian won in a gruelling 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 encounter on Thursday.
The announcement came as a relief to the players, with Australian player Samantha Stosur on Wednesday night urging Open officials to apply some common sense if forecast temperatures of 44 degrees hit Melbourne Park.
"It's not just for us. It's the fans, the linespeople, the ball kids. Everyone is suffering out there."
More heatwaves forecast
As Australia sweats through record temperatures, the country's Climate Council says heatwaves are becoming hotter, longer and more frequent.
The interim findings of a report by the council have been released and finds some parts of the country have experienced an average increase of one to three heatwave days over the past 60 years.
One of the report's co-authors, Sarah Perkins, says the change has occurred mostly in Australia's south-east and west.
"Particularly in areas around Adelaide and Perth that are currently experiencing heatwave conditions. They appear to be the hardest hit in terms of the number of heatwaves that have increased, and also the intensity of the heatwaves."
The extreme hot weather is one of the most direct consequences of climate change, she says.