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Australia fires force 4,000 to flee for beach, create fireworks debate

After much debate and consternation, the world-renowned fireworks show over Sydney Harbor delighted the estimated 1 million in attendance as Australia greeted a new year.

Now back to worrying about the bushfires.

A devastating fire season that has seen more than 12 million acres burn nationwide over a matter of months hit another crisis point Tuesday when residents and vacationers in a seaside town were trapped in apocalyptic conditions, and at least two people were killed as the eastern parts of Australia’s two most populous states continued to get torched.

The weather forecast offers only a little respite from the conditions that have fueled a surge in blazes amid what has been the country’s worst fire season in memory.

According to AccuWeather, there will be a letup Thursday in the heat and gusty winds that caused the fires to spread across New South Wales and Victoria, but those same factors will return Friday and into Saturday. It’s not until Sunday that widespread rain will arrive in the area for the first time in several weeks.