Two wildfires have merged to form a massive inferno in south-eastern Australia and a man suffered serious burns protecting a home during a night of treacherous conditions during the nation’s unprecedented fire crisis.
Authorities are assessing the damage after firefighters battled flames fanned by strong winds and lightning strikes sparked new blazes in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.
Conditions are milder and forecast to remain relatively benign for the next week.
Officials say a man suffered burns protecting a home and was airlifted to a Sydney hospital in serious condition.
Several firefighters received minor burns, and one suffered shortness of breath, but they did not go to a hospital.