Severe Fire Warnings Issued in Queensland, Western Australia Amid Record-Breaking Heat Wave

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By Reissa Su | January 7, 2014 6:30 PM EST

Western Australia continues to experience rising temperatures due to a record-breaking heat wave that began in the later weeks of December before creeping towards South Australia. Queensland and New South Wales were not spared from the sweltering heat with temperatures peaking across Queensland on Jan. 3.

REUTERS / SEVEN NETWORK
Firefighters from New South Wales' Rural Fire Service (RFS) arrive to put out a fire at a property in Lithgow, New South Wales, in this still frame taken on October 17, 2013; video provided by Seven Network Australia.

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According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, Jan. 3 was recorded as the hottest day in Queensland. On Jan. 2, Moomba in South Australia had a temperature of 49.3 degrees, the highest temperature reported during the heat wave. The bureau said 34 areas in Australia broke temperature records between Dec. 30 and Jan. 4.

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared 2013 the hottest year on record with average temperatures at 1.20 degrees Celsius higher than the long term average of 21.8C. The hottest day for Australia was recorded on January 7, 2013. In the same month, Australia recorded its hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910. 

While the heat wave seems to have less of an impact in most of Australia, heat was reported to be building up in Western Australia. Perth will experience a rise in temperature by weekend with temperatures expected to be 40 degrees Celsius.

Sweltering heat formed over the Nullarbor by the end of December and continued to cover parts of inland Australia. The bureau released a special climate statement revealing that the current heat wave was still a remarkable event despite being less prolonged and extensive than the heat wave in 2013.

Meanwhile, firefighting crews from the Country Fire Authority brought two large fires in central Victoria under control on Jan. 6. About 30 tankers, 150 firefighters and 3 fire-bombing planes worked to control the bushfires that burned out almost 60 hectares of Kimbolton State Forest.

Residents in Victoria were warned not to be complacent of bushfires despite a drop in temperature. Country Fire Authority's Mark Gilmore warned bushfires don't need extreme temperatures to ignite since Victoria is already a dry state.

Fears of bushfires with the same magnitude as those in Oct. 2012 are triggered by the ongoing heat wave. Authorities have issued severe fire warnings in Queensland and Western Australia.

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(Photo: REUTERS / SEVEN NETWORK / )
Firefighters from New South Wales' Rural Fire Service (RFS) arrive to put out a fire at a property in Lithgow, New South Wales, in this still frame taken on October 17, 2013; video provided by Seven Network Australia.
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