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Ash Cant

Heatwave sweeps Australia while bushfire risk grows

Southern Australia bakes in heatwave 10 News First – Disclaimer

Millions of Australians have sweltered through one of the hottest days of summer so far, as bushfires take off in several states

Weather conditions across Australia’s south-east have brought low to severe intensity heatwave conditions and an elevated fire risk.

Temperatures had hit 40 degrees in parts of Victoria by midday Friday, and were in the high 30s in NSW and South Australia. In the west, some parts of the Pilbara are tipped to top 50 degrees.

“That heat has been sitting there for a few weeks,” Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Dean Narramore said on Friday.

“Some of that heat has now been dragged down into central and southeastern parts of the country.”

While a heatwave sweeps Australia, bushfires are burning in several states.

The BOM warned of low-intensity heatwave conditions in parts of SA, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory on Friday.

Pockets of severe intensity heatwaves were also expected in south-east Victoria, north-east Tasmania and south-east NSW.

“Western suburbs [of Sydney] could get up to 38 degrees around the Penrith area,” Mr Narramore said.

“We’re expecting low-intensity heatwave conditions to continue across much of inland NSW and southern Queensland over the weekend and into early next week.”

Melbourne was expecting a top of 38 degrees on Friday – and beat that with 40.1 by 4pm. it was the city’s highest temperature since January 2020.

Further south, Hobart was bound for 32 degrees.

But both capitals were also expecting a cool change just in time for the weekend.

Fire danger across several states

Across south-east South Australia, parts of Victoria and south-east NSW, dry thunderstorms are possible, posing a possible fire danger.

In NSW, the southern ranges, southern slopes, northern and southern Riverina, lower and upper central-west plains, and the greater Hunter regions areas had high fire danger ratings on Friday.

People living in those areas should be ready to act in the event of a fire.

On Friday, firefighters in Cowra worked to contain a blaze, using water-bombing aircraft and machinery.

The blaze started on Thursday and had covered about 320 hectares by midday Friday.

“Today crews are focusing on containments lines on the western edge of the fire,” NSW RFS said in a tweet.

Keep track of emergencies  near you:

The ACT’s Emergency Services Agency said the fire danger ratings would mostly remain moderate over the weekend. Extreme ratings are forecast for the Queanbeyan-Palerang region, including Googong and Jerrabomberra.

“It’s also possible we could see a chance of thunderstorms and lightning on Saturday,” ACT ESA said on Twitter.

In Victoria, a total fire ban was declared for the central district – which includes Melbourne and Geelong – amid extreme fire danger on Friday. Most of the rest of the state had a high risk.

There was also a high fire risk across much of South Australia, including Adelaide. 

While Adelaide reached a top of 39.7 degrees on Thursday, a fire broke out in Port Lincoln. SA police said it destroyed six homes and damaged 23 more.

The dangerous blaze came on the 40th anniversary of Ash Wednesday in South Australia when 28 people died and more than 350 homes were destroyed in major fires in the Adelaide Hills, the Clare Valley and the southeast.

In Queensland, people near Hookswood, Myall Park and Kowguran, where fires have burned for nearly a week, were advised to monitor conditions.

Meanwhile, northern parts of the Sunshine State were under flood watch and monsoon warnings.

More than 300 millimetres of rain fell at the Daintree Rainforest on Thursday night, with more heavy falls expected for the Gulf Coast.

-with AAP

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