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Firefighters in the mouth of the inferno


FIREFIGHTERS battle a blaze in the town of Hillville as wildfires continue to rage across tracts of Australia’s east coast — forcing hundreds of residents to flee.

The state of New South Wales has lost more than 200 homes since Friday, while 14 were destroyed in southern Queensland. Some communities have been evacuated repeatedly as the flames recede and return with strong winds.

Tony Wellington, mayor of the Queensland town of Noosa North Shore, said: ‘It’s bad enough being evacuated once let alone multiple times. It’s terribly distressing.’

A week-long state of emergency for New South Wales, including around Sydney, was declared on Monday. But Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned rain was not expected for months on the coast.

More than 50 homes have been damaged or destroyed in New South Wales and 13 firefighters were injured, though none seriously, by wildfires that subsided yesterday.