Wildfires on the Australian island of Tasmania have forced thousands of people to flee and destroyed at least 80 homes.
Much of Australia is experiencing a heatwave, and temperatures in the Tasmanian state capital Hobart earlier reached a record high of 41C.
Some took shelter on beaches on the Tasman peninsula, from where hundreds were rescued by boat.
Fire crews have also been battling blazes on mainland Australia.
In Tasmania, some 40 separate fires were burning across the island, despite temperatures falling back from their peak.
“While those fires did abate, they’re still doing a bit of damage,” Tasmania Fire Service spokesman John Holloway told ABC TV.
The 80 homes were destroyed in the community of Dunally, east of Hobart.
Police were investigating reports that one man was missing after a fire crew was trapped by the blaze.
“They had to take shelter in their vehicle as the fire burned over their vehicle,” said acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard.
“They were, from that location as I understand it, able to see a gentlemen who was trying to protect his property and they couldn’t get to him, it was too unsafe.”
Wildfires are common in Australia. In 2009, fires in rural Victoria state killed more than 170 people and destroyed some 2,000 homes.
Categories: WORLD NEWS