Bushfires raging in different parts of Australia are estimated to have destroyed more than 3,000,000 acres (1,800,000 hectares) of grazing and bush land in New South Wales alone.
AERIAL VIEW Smoke over fire area
SV PAN FROM Hercules aircraft TO heavy equipment
LV Army heavy equipment
SV PAN LF Fire-fighting truck through bush
SV PAN FROM Sign-post TO unburned area
LV PAN FROM Smoke TO burned area
SV & CU Burning trees and undergrowth (3 shots)
SV Firefighters play hoses on smouldering bushes (3 shots)
LV & CU Firefighters refreshing themselves on roadside (4 shots)
TRACKING SHOT PAST Bulldozers and fire trucks at edge of burning bush
Initials BB/0123 NC/MR/BB/0138
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Background: Bushfires raging in different parts of Australia are estimated to have destroyed more than 3,000,000 acres (1,800,000 hectares) of grazing and bush land in New South Wales alone.
The most dangerous fire was near Cobar 450 miles (720 kilometres) north-west of Sydney.
On Saturday (21 December) southwest winds fanned the fire into a critical condition as it moved north-west along a natural gas pipeline.
The day before, about 80 troops had been flown in and the army also airlifted in two bulldozers to help cut fire-breaks.
Fire controllers in the region warned residents that many of the areas, which were considered no longer to be dangerous, could flare up again.
SYNOPSIS: Bush fires in Australia are continuing to take their toll of bush and farm land. One of the worst fires was in New South Wales. And, on Saturday, the Australian army airlifted heavy equipment and troops into the worst-hit areas to cut fire-breaks.
Hundreds of fire-fighters and volunteers had battled the flames for several days and -- on Saturday -- south-west winds fanned the blaze, which threatened the town of Cobar about four hundred and fifty miles north-west of Sydney.
The fire had jumped a natural gas pipeline and two fronts of it combined nd threatened buildings in the town.
The Director of New South Wales Emergency services said fires had destroyed more than three million acres during the last two weeks.
As the firefighters brought the flames under control it was time for taking stock. Apart from destroying many farm buildings in the area, the fires had created an "instant drought" which threatened long-term protection. The firefighters took respite from the heat ... many of them had been in the area for days.
As some of the men relaxed, Cobar's fire controller warned that many of the areas believed to be no longer dangerous could flare up again. He said firefighters' predicitons had often been wrong in the past.