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'It's too late to leave': Residents wait as huge fire rages

Saturday, March 2nd 2019, 3:45 pm - A rapidly-spreading bushfire in Australia has left some trapped in its path.

Residents in the path of a monster fire near Melbourne, Australia, have no option left but to watch and wait, as officials have declared it "too late to leave" for some of those in the fire's path.

Four separate bushfires have now merged into one major blaze spanning about 3400 hectares (34 square km) near Bunyip State Park, about 65 km east of Melbourne.

oz fire

Roughly 300 firefighters and emergency responders, including air support, are attempting to control the fire as gusty winds fan the flames toward homes and their trapped residents. Additional evacuation orders were issued Sunday morning, local time, as the fire continued to spread.

Further east, a second blaze was expected to sweep into the town of Dargo sometime on Saturday (local time).

(RELATED: Study says pyrocumulus clouds are on the rise in North America)

The fires come as the hottest summer of record for much of the country gives way to the hottest start to autumn in 30 years, a forecaster with Australia's Bureau of Meterology told The Guardian.

"The forecast is for very hot temperatures continuing for the rest of the weekend without much relief from the heat overnight. This means that if we have fires in the landscape they could challenge firefighters," said senior forecaster Tom Delamotte.

The fires were sparked by lightning strikes on March 1.

Sources: Bureau of Meteorology | The Guardian |

WATCH BELOW: HOW FIRES CAN CREATE THEIR OWN WEATHER SYSTEMS

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