More than 130 fires are raging in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, fuelled by strong winds and a prolonged drought, in an unusually ferocious and early start to the wildfire season. The fires began last Thursday. Massive bushfires across eastern Australia could be blazing for weeks, the authorities warned yesterday. Hundreds were evacuated after a fresh fire broke out on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Bushfires are an annual occurrence in Australia during the spring and summer, but scientists say climate change is exacerbating their strength and intensity. About eight of the blazes in Queensland are believed to have been "deliberately and recklessly lit".