Thirsty koala stops cyclists for water in heatwave READ MORE


Tens of thousands of holiday-makers and residents are being urged to evacuate a popular tourist spot in southeast Australia as a heatwave sweeping through the region threatens to escalate wildfires.

Australia has experienced one of the worst droughts in decades and sweltered under a record-breaking heat wave last week, when the average maximum temperature across the country hit 41.9 degrees Celsius (107.4 Fahrenheit). "It is important that you now think very very seriously about leaving".

The fire danger rating was severe in Adelaide, while the rest of the state was mostly between high and very high.

According to a recent inquiry conducted in New South Wales, it has also been found that more than 2,000 of the native Australian koalas may have died on the state's north coast in the intense bushfires. Sydney's western suburbs reached 41C on Saturday, while the inner city is expected to hit 31C on Sunday before reaching 35C on Tuesday.

Some communities cancelled New Year's fireworks celebrations, but Sydney's popular display over its iconic harbour controversially went ahead in front of more than a million revelers.

The annual music festival in Lorne on Victoria's Great Ocean Road has been canceled due to extreme fire conditions and about 9,000 festival-goers have been told to pack up and leave.

Very mild through Christmas
Ahead of the big day, the Met Office has issued a yellow thunderstorm warning across the southwest of England and south Wales. Malta is expected to have a windy but dry Christmas Day , with temperatures expected to reach highs of 18℃ and lows of 12℃.

Fire conditions worsened in Victoria and New South Wales states after oppressive heat Monday mixed with strong winds and lightning strikes.

The assessment of the situation facing Australia's koalas comes as its government drew criticism for a badly timed tourism campaign costing Aus$15 million ($10.5 million, €9.4 million).

"There were about a dozen cyclists around me watching this (all men) and several commented that it was genuinely the best thing they've witnessed", she wrote while sharing the clip of the thirsty koala drinking from the water bottle.

Nine people have been killed since the bush fire crisis began. The fire is more than 64,000 hectares in size. The fire stretches about 60 miles from Nowra to the resort town of Batemans Bay and has destroyed about 530,000 acres.

Two wildfires in New South Wales are at the "watch and act" level issued by fire services.