Dozens of bushfires are sweeping the Australian states of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, fanned by hot weather and strong winds.
Officials say an unknown number of homes have been destroyed and a firefighter has been injured in the state of Victoria.
Some residents have been ordered to leave and flames have spread to the outer suburbs of Australia’s second biggest city, Melbourne.
Conditions in Victoria are at their worst since 2009, authorities said.
Then, wildfires killed 173 people and destroyed about 2,000 homes in a disaster dubbed Black Saturday.
Emergency crews are also fighting blazes in South Australia and New South Wales.
More than 70 fires are burning across Victoria and 15 emergency warnings are in effect, with up-to-date local information available on the Vic Emergency website.
Hundreds of firefighters and dozens of fire engines are battling the blazes.
Fire authorities are worried about the threat posed to the coal-fired 1,600-megawatt Hazlewood Power Station in Latrobe Valley, local media reported.
Homes have been lost in the Melbourne suburbs of Warrandyte and Mickleham, and in Gisborne some 30 miles north-west of the city.
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