Over 5,000 firefighters have been working round the clock today containing some 70 bush fires burning out of control in New South Wales and Canberra. The worst affected areas are the Blue Mountains and Penrith, both West of Sydney. Several thousand people have been evacuated today and more evacuations are expected tomorrow. Fire destroyed a number of houses in the Penrith area.Rescue work is affected by very strong wind reach 60 kph and temperatures soaring well above 40 degrees centigrade. Major highways linking Sydney with Queensland and West of the country have been closed to traffic, as are many smaller roads across the state. At least two country towns in News South Wales are totally cut off and cannot be reached. Five people are reported dead in Brisbane, Queensland due to heart attacks caused by high temperature. A small tornado hit Launceston, Tasmania this morning. Noone was hurt, but repair work is likely to take a couple of days. The event was not typical for Tasmania, otherwise known for its mild climate.
Henry L. Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney
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