Australia hit by 'extreme' heat wave and wildfires

  • 15 January 2014

Parts of Australia have been hit by an 'extreme' heat wave and lightning strikes have sparked wildfires across the south east of the country.

In some areas the temperatures have hit over 40 degrees Celsius and fire authorities there fear the heat could cause dangerous bushfires.

In Victoria state there were around 250 fires caused by the lightning.

Country Fire Authority Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said in a statement: "The extreme temperatures [in Victoria] over the coming three days will test fire services and the community... it's critical we minimise the risk of any fires before Friday."

More than 14,000 properties have had power cuts and in Tasmania there are reports that road tar has melted because of the heat.

Australian Open

At the Australian Open, Canadian tennis player Frank Dancevic collapsed during a match.

He told reporters the heat made him "dizzy".

China's Peng Shuai said the temperatures caused her to vomit during her match.

A ball boy also collapsed because of the heat.