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Australian bush fires 'catastrophic'

8 January 2013 Last updated at 18:31 GMT

Firefighters in the Australian state of New South Wales are battling some of the worst fires they have ever faced.

More than 130 fires are burning, and the risk in some areas is at its highest level because of the combination of high winds, extremely dry vegetation and temperatures above 40.

Four areas in New South Wales have been given a "catastrophic" fire danger rating - the highest level - meaning that if fires break out they will be uncontrollable and fast-moving, so residents should leave.

Nick Bryant reports.