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Australia's fires ease

Response groups and firefighters alike in Australia breathed a sigh of relief Friday.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | January 31, 2003

Response groups and firefighters alike in Australia breathed a sigh of relief Friday when the fire threat eased, albeit temporarily.

More than 80 fires continued to burn in New South Wales and Victoria but few were threatening homes, said reports from Australian fire officials.

Earlier this week at least 10 villages were evacuated around both Canberra and Sydney, but many residents were allowed to return home Friday.

Firefighting crews have been working around the clock, and relief groups among them The Salvation Army have been providing meals and spiritual support.

Australia is in the grip of its worst drought in a century, and this fire season is one of the worst on record. Some 600 homes have been destroyed.


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