Australia battles bush blazes, intense heat

Updated 7:39 AM ET, Tue January 8, 2013
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A volunteer Rural Fire Service member from Bungendore RFS washes down a emergency service vehicle on January 8, 2013 in Bungendore, Australia. Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
Fire hoses from Bungendore RFS sit on shelves on January 8, 2013 in Bungendore, Australia. Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
Fire fighters battle a grass fire in Oura, near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales on January 8, 2013. LUKAS COCH/AFP/Getty Images
These weather maps are produced from computer models and are used by forecasters to develop the official weather maps, which contain added features such as cold fronts. Courtesy: Australian Bureau of Meteorology
Southern states of Australia were hit by soaring temperatures on January 8, 2013, raising the risk of bushfires in the region. Thousands of firefighters were deployed in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania as strong winds fanned flames. Courtesy: Google Maps
Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia was packed with people attempting to cool down as temperatures hit 43 degrees Celsius (109 Fahrenheit). Marianna Massey/Getty Images
The soaring temperatures, coupled with strong winds, raised the fire risk to "extreme" or higher across 90% of the state. Marianna Massey/Getty Images
A lifeguard sign warns beach-goers of the high temperatures at Tamarama Beach in Sydney on January 8. Marianna Massey/Getty Images
Tourists cover themselves with towels to protect themselves from the sun on one of the hottest days on record. Marianna Massey/Getty Images
Tommy Robredo of Spain rests next to a fan in between games in his first round match against John Millman of Australia during day three of Sydney International at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre. Matt King/Getty Images
A pair of Zebras attempts to eat an iced carrot block at Taronga Zoo. Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images
The fire rating reached "catastrophic" in four areas of New South Wales, prompting warnings from Prime Minister Julia Gillard that Tuesday was a "dangerous day." Brendon Thorne/Getty Images