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Hobart's sky turns 'apocalyptic' as distant bushfire burns

Distinctive clouds covered the city of Hobart on Friday. Courtesy: BBC

A bushfire raging in a wilderness area has turned skies orange and black over the city of Hobart, Australia.

Clouds of smoke blanketed Tasmania’s state capital on Friday, despite the city lying about 100km (60 miles) south-east of the fire’s location.

The blaze in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area prompted safety warnings for nearby communities, but no injuries had been reported.

Australia’s southern states experienced extreme heat on Friday.

Hobart’s skies were described as “apocalyptic” and “ominous” by people on social media.

The bushfire would not reach Hobart but the smoke could endanger people with respiratory problems, police said.

Closer to the blaze, residents of several townships were told to closely monitor warnings and enact survival plans.

The fire has burnt though more than 8,000 hectares (31 sq miles) since it began last week.

Bushfires were also reported on Australia’s mainland on Friday. In the nation’s second-biggest city, Melbourne, the temperature exceeded 42C (108F).

Melbourne is forecast more heat before the Australian Open tennis event begins on 14 January.