Australians leave homes as heat, winds escalate fire danger

It’s going to be a long and difficult night

EDEN, Australia (AP) - Thousands of people are fleeing their homes and helicopters are dropping supplies to towns at risk of wildfires as hot, windy conditions threaten already fire-ravaged southeastern Australian communities.

The danger is centered on Australia’s most populous states, including coastal towns that lost homes in earlier fires.

Fire officials say wildfires are holding within containment lines so far, but a strong shift in winds is predicted later.

The New South Wales premier said the extent of any damage from the fires wouldn’t be known until Saturday morning and that it would be a long and difficult night.

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