Remarkable video footage has emerged showing a "sea of fire" raging in Australia.
Video taken by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation showed flames spreading across a field near Beaufort on the outskirts of Adelaide.
Australia has been battling wildfires across a number of fronts for several days, endangering thousands of people in many communities. Blazes so far this month have claimed at least four lives, burnt about 2.5 million acres of farmland and bush and destroyed more than 300 homes.
Firefighters took on hundreds of fires on Thursday as scores of blazes sprang up in new locations.
By Thursday afternoon, dozens of fires were burning across the southeastern state of Victoria and temperatures of 40.9 Celsius (105.6 F) in Melbourne, its capital, matched the hottest day on record in 1894, Australia’s weather bureau said.
A fresh battle line was drawn as 50 fires sprung up in South Australia state, where officials lifted the fire danger warning to "catastrophic”.
Authorities warned residents of towns about 50 km (31 miles) north of Ballarat, the state’s third largest city, that it was too late for them to evacuate safely.
“You are in danger, act now to protect yourself,” fire authorities said in an alert. “It is too late to leave. The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately.”
State authorities in Victoria issued its first Code Red alert in a decade, signifying the worst possible bushfire conditions, warning that should a fire start it would be fast moving, unpredictable and probably uncontrollable.
As thick smoke blanketed the most populous city of Sydney for a third day, residents were urged to keep children indoors, stepping up pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to tackle climate change.
There are still 10 days remaining until the official start of summer.