Photo of firefighters fighting a bush fire in Australia
Sam Mooy/Getty Images
RFS Firefighters battle a spot fire on November 13, 2019 in Hillville, Australia. Catastrophic fire conditions – the highest possible level of bushfire danger – have eased across greater Sydney, Illawarra and Hunter areas thanks to a slight cool change, however dozens of bushfires are still burning.

Australia had its hottest average day in history Tuesday as the country battles devastating wildfires.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology tweeted that the average maximum temperature across the country Tuesday was 40.9 degrees Celsius, or roughly 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That figure passed the previous record, set in 2013, of 40.3 degrees Celsius, or 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The record temperature came as bush fires burn across New South Wales and the country endures its worst drought in decades. A hundred active fires are still raging across the state, of which 54 are still not contained, according to the state’s Rural Fire Service.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Tuesday that temperatures could spike even higher as the heat wave moves into Victoria and New South Whales throughout the week.

“We’re expecting large areas of inland South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales to experience temperatures in the mid to high 40s,” said Sarah Scully, one of the bureau’s meteorologists. 

“For many areas, severe to extreme heatwave conditions will be felt, so it’s important people follow the advice of health authorities, stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings from the Bureau and remember to check in on any vulnerable family and friends.” 

Australia’s bush fires, which have been burning for two months, have destroyed more than 760 homes and damaged nearly 300 more and have killed four people. 

The blazes have sparked intense criticism of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is reportedly on vacation in Hawaii. 

The hashtag #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou emerged online in response to Morrison’s absence, and cartoonists mocked the prime minister’s vacation. 

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack defended Morrison, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, saying that he was on a pre-planned family trip.

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