A secret operation by specialist firefighters has saved the world's last stand of Wollemi Pines, a pre-historic species known as “dinosaur trees”, from Australia's unprecedented bushfires, officials said.
Australian Open qualifying was disrupted for a second successive day due to poor air quality on Wednesday as smoke from bushfires continued to blanket Melbourne in an acrid haze. Organizers of the year's first Grand Slam said practice had been suspended at Melbourne Park until 11am and qualifiers would not get under way until 1pm.
The vast clouds of smoke from Australia's historic bush fires are expected to circle the Earth and return to the country, Nasa says. The US agency said satellites have been monitoring the movement of the smoke high in the atmosphere as it swirled east towards South America and beyond.
Smoke from bushfires raging across Australia reached Brazil on Tuesday, an arm of the National Institute for Space Research said on Twitter. Referring to satellite images, the agency's Department of Remote Sensing said the smoke had arrived in Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.
A cool change on Wednesday brought relief for firefighters battling massive bushfires in eastern Australia which destroyed 50 homes and saw flames come within meters of homes on the outskirts of Sydney.