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Fires rage across four Australian states

Jan. 22, 2006 at 5:57 PM

MELBOURNE, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Fire authorities in four Australian states are battling to control bushfires fanned by strong winds and searing temperatures.

The Australian reported Sunday that blazes continue to burn in South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria, where up to six homes have been destroyed. In South Australia, much of Adelaide is engulfed in thick smoke as firefighters, confronted by blast-furnace winds, try to bring the flames under control.

At Robertstown in the state's mid-north, more than 2,500 acres have already burned. Another bushfire, started by lightning, charred the earth near Mouth Flat on the southern side of Kangaroo Island, while Ngarkat Conservation Park, in the state's upper-southeast, is also ablaze.

A 7,500-acre fire at Mount Agnew in Zeehan, in the state's west, broke containment lines Saturday afternoon, jumping a road and coming close to homes.

The most serious fires were in Victoria, where up to six homes were destroyed by a fire near the town of Anakie, 36 miles west of Melbourne.

In Tasmania, falling temperatures and patchy rain brought some relief to firefighters, who continue to monitor 22 blazes across the state.

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