Only rain will put out Australia's raging bushfires, fire chiefs say

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Only rain will put out Australia's raging bushfires, fire chiefs say

Queensland state has issued an emergency warning in Ipswich city after a fire rapidly advanced across nearby grassland.

Residents were told to leave the area immediately as firefighters fought the blaze.

The fire began at one house in the suburb of Bundamba and completely destroyed it. No one was injured.

At least 20 other properties were also in the path of the fire.

Parts of Queensland have experienced heatwave conditions with temperatures peaking at 41 degrees Celsius.

In eastern Australia, thousands of weary firefighters have been battling bushfires for a month,

A three-year drought has left much of the vast country tinder dry and in some areas, fire chiefs say they won't be able to put fires out - only rain will be able to do that.

But no significant rainfall is forecast soon.

In New South Wales a water-bombing helicopter had to make an emergency landing on Saturday, whilst fighting a bushfire north east of Newcastle.

Some 2,000 firefighters have been deployed to fight 96 fires throughout New South Wales but so far only about half of them have been contained.

Australians are increasingly blaming global warming for the unprecedented severity of these bushfires which have blanketed Sydney, their largest city, in a haze of smoke.