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Webber takes time out for wildfire visit

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F1 Mole | 09:28 UK time, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Red Bull driver Mark Webber took time out of his preparations for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix to visit the scene of the Australian bushfires.

Last month, the fires swept across the state of Victoria, home of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, and claimed more than 200 lives.

Webber drove an hour-and-a-half out of Melbourne to view the scarred landscape surrounding the town of Kinglake.

"I wanted to come here and have a good look at what really want on," says Webber, who grew up on a farm in New South Wales.

"As a youngster I experienced bush fires. My father has fought them in the past but nowhere near this scale."

Mark Webber

Seven weeks after the fires broke out the rolling green hills remain split by charred tree trunks and the debris left by destroyed homes.

"You can still smell the burnt timber," says Webber. "The trees are just matchsticks now and the houses look like they've been bombed by aeroplanes.

"Its goes on for miles and miles. They say temperatures reached 2,000C. It really does look like the end of the world."

As well as raising awareness for the charity to help the victims of the wildfires, Webber has made a personal donation.

McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton also showed his support by visiting burns victims at the Alfred Hospital.

Former team boss, now BBC pundit Eddie Jordan, and his rock n' roll band The Robbers have released a single called "You Make Me Smile" through Universal records, the proceeds of which will also go towards the bush fire charity.

A feature showing Webber and the wildfires will be shown as part of BBC television's coverage this weekend.


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