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Easing conditions help Australia fire crews but dangerous season to continue until March

Published on Jan 19, 2014 12:29 PM
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A helicopter dumping water on a bushfire in the Grampians bushland in the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria, about 300km west of Melbourne on Jan 17, 2014. Easing conditions on Sunday helped Australian fire crews battling major wildfires that destroyed 25 homes in the nation's south-east following a week-long heatwave, with warnings of a long and dangerous season ahead. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - Easing conditions on Sunday helped Australian fire crews battling major wildfires that destroyed 25 homes in the nation's south-east following a week-long heatwave, with warnings of a long and dangerous season ahead.

Firefighters in South Australia and Victoria states said they had gained the upper hand over a series of blazes which started last week during a scorching heatwave that brought temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius for several consecutive days.

Infernos in South Australia levelled 15 homes while Victoria's Country Fire Authority said a firestorm so intense that it created its own weather system in the Grampians holiday park west of Melbourne had destroyed 10 properties.

One woman died in the Grampians, although authorities said it appeared to be due to a medical condition and not fire-related.

 
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