Australia is battling with hundreds of wildfires raging and ravaging properties across the world’s driest inhabited continent. Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate homes as fires raged in southeast Australia, while some had no choice but to seek shelter in their homes as fires approached. Temperatures soared to more than 45 degrees Celsius.
The string of bushfires currently raging throughout five of Australia's six states are so massive that they can be seen from space. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfieldcaptured these detailed images on Jan. 8 from on board the International Space Station.
Almost after a week-long heat wave bushfires are ablaze in five of Australia's six states, with more than 137 fires in the most populous state NSW, and in forests around the capital Canberra.
Around 100 houses, the majority on the island state of Tasmania, have been destroyed by bushfires in recent days, and many people are still missing in fire-ravaged areas.
In Australia's biggest city Sydney, where the temperature hit 41.8 degrees Celsius, thousands flocked to the city's iconic beaches, while zookeepers hosed down animals to help them cope with temperatures that tested national records. The blistering heat also caused a blaze at a nuclear research facility in southern Sydney after cabling overheated in a nearby electricity substation, while thousands of homes in the city's north experienced power outages due to soaring demand.
The record heat wave forced the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to extend its extreme temperature limit, adding new pink and purple colors to forecast maps to allow for temperatures of above 54 degrees Celsius (129 Fahrenheit).
The bureau is forecasting 54 degrees Celsius in central Australia next Monday.
The heat wave, which began in Western Australia on Dec. 27 and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heat wave in more than a decade.