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Australia braces for severe heat and drought

Several thousand firefighters are battling dozens of out-of-control bushfires in four of Australia’s six states amid record-breaking heat and months of severe drought.

New South Wales, the most populated state in Australia, has been under the second week-long state of emergency due to “catastrophic” bushfire conditions as scorching temperatures are forecast to reach 47 degrees Celsius in the suburbs on Sydney’s outskirts.

Dozens of roads have been closed and some 10,000 police, emergency workers, paramedics and firefighters were deployed on Saturday, making it “probably the largest deployment of emergency services personnel” in New South Wales, David Elliot, state emergency services minister, said.

According to dpa/NAN joint report, in South Australia, where emergency warnings have been issued for several bushfires, a massive out-of-control fire is still burning in the Adelaide Hills, where two people have died.

The temperature is forecast to reach almost 50 degrees in some parts of the state.

In Victoria, which has experienced record-breaking heat, hundreds of firefighters are battling several blazes, with two fires in the “emergency” category, which means people are in danger and need to act immediately to survive.

In Queensland, several hundred firefighters are battling dozens of bushfires, some of which have been burning since October.

Temperatures of 40 degrees and heavy bushfire smoke have engulfed Australia’s capital Canberra.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has been criticized for holidaying with his family in Hawaii, will cut short his trip and return to Australia later on Saturday.

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