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Tasmania wildfires force thousands to flee

5 January 2013 Last updated at 12:24 GMT

Wildfires on the Australian island of Tasmania have forced thousands of people to flee and destroyed at least 80 homes.

Much of Australia is experiencing a heatwave, and temperatures in the Tasmanian state capital Hobart earlier reached a record high of 41C.

Some took shelter on beaches on the Tasman peninsula, from where hundreds were rescued by boat.

Fire crews have also been battling blazes on mainland Australia.

Nick Bryant reports.