‘Catastrophic’ Fires Hit Australia

Authorities in Australia have warned of a “catastrophic” fire threat in the state of New South Wales. More than 130 fires were burning across New South Wales on Tuesday, and more than 40 of those had yet to be brought under control. Temperatures are expected to rise to 109 degrees Fahrenheit, and a total fire ban is in effect. Some areas of the state are experiencing winds of 43 mph, which may further fan the flames. No homes have been destroyed, but authorities warned that the threat will last throughout the night. Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned that it was a “dangerous” day and urged people to “stay focused,” adding “it is very important that people keep themselves safe, that they listen to local authorities and local warnings.”