[Notes:DATELINE: New South Wales, Australia]

FIREFIGHTERS IN AUSTRALIA GOT A SHORT BREAK ON THURSDAY FROM THE MANY DANGEROUS BLAZES THAT ARE SPREADING ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

BUT THEY NEEDED THAT TIME TO PREPARE FOR EVEN MORE EXTREME CONDITIONS EXPECTED OVER THE WEEKEND.

[Notes:SOUNDBITE Inspector Brett Loughlin, Rural Fire Service: "The main focus today is to consolidate the containment lines, do as much work as we can before difficult conditions return tomorrow."]

THERE ARE ABOUT 100 FIRES BURNING ACROSS THE COUNTRY ...

LOCAL MEDIA REPORT THAT 15 OF THOSE ARE STILL UNCONTAINED.

FIRE CREWS IN NEW SOUTH WALES WERE CARRYING OUT CONTROLLED "BACK BURNING" IN A NUMBER OF AREAS.

ONE OF THE FIRES WAS CREEPING CLOSER AND CLOSER TO AN OLD MILITARY FACILITY ....

[Notes:SOUNDBITE Inspector Brett Loughlin, Rural Fire Service: "There is a risk of unexploded ordinance so our crews are doing everything they can to prevent the fire getting into that area."]

OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED A FIRE BAN FOR THE ENTIRE STATE OF NEW SOUTH WALES ...

HOPING TO LIMIT THE DAMAGE FROM FURTHER BLAZES.

POLICE ARE ALSO LOOKING FOR AN ARSONIST HERE ....

[Notes:SOUNDBITE Ray Lovett, Lithgow resident: "Some idiot comes along and lights it and gets a big kick out of it, and you work and save and do good things, and they just don't care."]

WILDFIRES ARE COMMON DURING THE SUMMER IN AUSTRALIA.

THE COUNTRY HAD ITS HOTTEST DAY ON RECORD MONDAY ... WITH A NATIONWIDE AVERAGE OF 104 DEGREES.

AND FORECASTERS SAY SOME AREAS COULD SEE TEMPERATURES AS HIGH AS 113 DEGREES ON FRIDAY.

NICOLE GRETHER -- THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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