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Australians battling extreme heat

Many Australians took to the beach in search of refuge from the heat.

SYDNEY — The Australian city of Sydney is experiencing its hottest day on record, with temperatures reaching nearly 46C.

A temperature of 45.8C was recorded at Observatory Hill in the city at 14:55 local time.

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

In Victoria state, one man has been killed by a bush fire, one of dozens raging across southern Australia.

State police said the body of the man, who has not been identified, was found in a burnt-out vehicle close to Seaton, a small town some 200km (120 miles) east of Melbourne.

He is the first person confirmed to have been killed by this year’s fires, though a firefighter died while tackling a blaze in Tasmania earlier last Sunday. Officials have not yet determined how he died.

Firefighters are still battling dozens of wildfires sparked by the intense heat in New South Wales and Victoria.

The small town of Licola in eastern Victoria is reported to have been cut off by a 44,500-hectare fire, as its sole access road is blocked.

Officials said dozens of people had been evacuated but 10 locals were still there.

Rob Gilder, a sheep farmer, said he and two employees had found themselves trapped on their farm and were “in grave danger”.

He told the Herald Sun they were taking steps to protect their house and farm equipment, but that he was concerned for his livestock, and that the situation could worsen.

“I am very worried. But I am hopeful that one of those helicopters will come and get us but I think the smoke might beat them.” (BBC)

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