Gale force winds have fanned two of Australia’s massive bushfires into a feared “mega blaze”, with authorities warning of worse weather to come.
It had been feared for days that fire would spill over the New South Wales-Victoria border in the Snowy Mountains.
Across many parts of the country forest fires are threatening to advance again as temperatures soar. The winds mean fires could spread quickly and unpredictably this weekend.
Forecasts are for more heat, strong winds over the coming days.
The mega blaze south of the Snowy Mountains came after two fires at Dunns Road and East Ournie Creek joined up, following another massive fire merger nearby earlier in the week.
An area totalling nearly 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) – about four times the size of Greater London – is now ablaze.
But the danger is equally great further south in Victoria.
Victoria’s Country Fire Authority issued several emergency warnings on Friday, telling people to evacuate before it became too dangerous.