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New Australia blaze erupts

A new blaze roared up in parkland south of Sydney.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | December 16, 2002

A new blaze roared up in parkland south of Sydney, Australia a week after bush fires destroyed 50 homes in the outer suburbs.

The blaze ignited in Royal National Park, Australia's oldest national park, which is regularly devastated by fires. Last year 80 percent of the park was devastated by fires.

Firefighters were able to bring it partially under control Monday. No homes were threatened by the new blaze. Its cause was unknown Monday afternoon, according to reports from the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Sydney, home to some 4 million people, saw a high of 86 degrees Monday.

Fires often erupt in eastern Australia's eucalyptus forests. Bush fires also raged around Sydney last Christmas and around Christmastime in 1994.

This year, a drought affecting almost 90 percent of Australia has made the bush fire season one of the worst in decades.

December and January are usually the worst months in Australia's fire season.

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