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Extreme bushfire alert -

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Extreme bushfire alert

Broadcast: 06/02/2009

Reporter: Rebecca Barrett

Emergency services in three states and the ACT are on extreme alert as severe weather conditions
create unprecedented bushfire conditions. Victorian fire authorities say tomorrow's forecast
conditions are similar to those experienced during the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Emergency services in three states and the ACT are on extreme alert as
severe weather conditions create unprecedented bushfire conditions.

Victorian fire authorities say tomorrow's forecast conditions are similar to those experienced
during the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.

38 fires are burning across NSW. South Australia and the ACT are sweltering. And Melbourne's morgue
is full because of a spike in deaths blamed on the heat.

Rebecca Barrett reports.

REBECCA BARRETT, REPORTER: So far, Victoria and SA have borne the brunt of the hot weather.
Firefighters are battling a huge blaze in the Bunyip State Park in West Gippsland.

It's expected to jump containment lines tomorrow and could threaten homes. Melbourne's morgue is
now full because of a sudden spike in deaths blamed on the hot spell.

JENNIFER COATE, VICTORIAN STATE CORONER: We have had an unprecedented demand upon our services.

REBECCA BARRETT: South Australians today sweltered through 43 degrees. There were more power
blackouts and electricity supplies could be disrupted again tomorrow. Three states are now heading
for temperatures above 40 degrees. The ACT is also bracing for hot, windy conditions.

DARREN CUTRUPI, ACT EMERGENCY SERVICES AGENCY: This is certainly the worst weekend when it comes to
fire danger that we've experienced.

REBECCA BARRETT: The hot spell buckled train lines and left commuters stranded in Victoria and SA.
But that won't happen in NSW according to the Premier.

NATHAN REES, NSW PREMIER: Our systems are robust. In particular, I've asked about the rail system.
We have many more concrete sleepers and so on which mitigate against warping of lines.

REBECCA BARRETT: The Rural Fire Service is preparing for the worst.

SHANE FITZSIMMONS, NSW BUSHFIRE COMMISSIONER: Wherever you've got those dry conditions, wherever
you've got those hot conditions, you've got the recipe for fire and fire to burn quickly.

REBECCA BARRETT: There are also public health warnings.

JEREMY MCANULTY, NSW HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Be prepared. Keep cool. Keep well-hydrated. Look out for
your neighbours and your friends, particularly those who are elderly. And rest; don't go doing
strenuous exercise when it's hot.

REBECCA BARRETT: There are many ways to beat the heat on the outside and on the inside, and if it
all becomes too much, maybe it's time for a little lie-down. Rebecca Barrett, Lateline.