<p><strong>Smoke from a <a class="c18" href="http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/wildfires/">wildfire</a> mushrooms over a beach in Forcett, Tasmania, on January 4. (<a class="c18" href="http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/wildfires/">See more wildfire pictures</a>.)</strong></p><p class="c4 c10">Wildfires have engulfed southeastern <a class="c18" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/australia-guide/">Australia</a>, including the island state of Tasmania, in recent days, fueled by dry conditions and temperatures as high as 113ºF (45ºC), the Associated Press reported. (Read <a class="c18" href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/04/murray-darling/draper-text">"Australia's Dry Run" in<em> </em><em>National Geographic </em>magazine</a>.)</p><p class="c4 c10">No deaths have been reported, though a hundred people are unaccounted for in the town of Dunalley, where the blazes destroyed 90 homes.</p><p class="c4 c10">"You don't get conditions worse than this," New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told the AP.</p><p class="c4 c10">"We are at the catastrophic level, and clearly in those areas leaving early is your safest option."</p>

Mushroom Cloud

Smoke from a wildfire mushrooms over a beach in Forcett, Tasmania, on January 4. (See more wildfire pictures.)

Wildfires have engulfed southeastern Australia, including the island state of Tasmania, in recent days, fueled by dry conditions and temperatures as high as 113ºF (45ºC), the Associated Press reported. (Read "Australia's Dry Run" in National Geographic magazine.)

No deaths have been reported, though a hundred people are unaccounted for in the town of Dunalley, where the blazes destroyed 90 homes.

"You don't get conditions worse than this," New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told the AP.

"We are at the catastrophic level, and clearly in those areas leaving early is your safest option."

Photograph by Jo Giuliani, European Pressphoto Agency

Pictures: Wildfires Scorch Australia Amid Record Heat

Wildfires are raging across much of southeastern Australia, fueled by drought and the country's hottest temperatures on record.

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