3 Jan 2012

Emergency services on high alert in Australian heatwave

10:14 pm on 3 January 2012

Emergency services are on high alert across three Australian states as Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania swelter in the sun.

Lightning storms across western Victoria are threatening to start more fires.

About 100 small fires burnt throughout Victoria on Monday and ambulance workers treated 45 patients for heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses.

The ABC reports that on Monday, temperatures topped 43 degrees Celsius in some parts of Victoria, including Warrnambool and Port Fairy in the south-west.

South Australia is experiencing the hottest start to the year in more than a century.

The heatwave conditions across the state have prompted one power company to cut electricity supplies to about 3300 properties as the extreme heat and high winds raised concerns of bushfires.