Next days crucial for bush firefighters

Next days crucial for bush firefighters

18 January 2007

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New Zealand — Australian authorities say the next few days willpresent the biggest test for firefighters in the state of Victoria since thelatest bushfires began in early December.

They say more property losses are likely, with thunderstorms and hottemperatures forecast for Thursday and Friday. In the past 24 hours, a fire inthe state’s northeast has destroyed several houses and sheds.

Firefighters in New South Wales and Victoria worked through the night tocontain bushfires.

In Victoria, the ABC reports crews were rushing to finish buildingcontainment lines in Gippsland and the northeast of the state before predictedstrong winds and thunderstorms arrived later on Thursday.

The southern edge of the Tatong fire, southeast of Benalla, and another nearTambo Crossing in Gippsland are the main areas of concern.

NSW ski resort threatened

On Thursday light rain started falling on a fire that is closing in on theNSW ski resort of Thredbo. Officials say village remains threatened.

Hundreds of tourists have been evacuated, but about 200 residents stayed put.

The ABC reports that the authorities expect the threat to the community toincrease.

The Victorian Country Fire Authority says extreme conditions on Friday arelikely to cause more problems.

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