Wildfire razes vast tracts of northeast Australia

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Authorities say a wildfire has destroyed at least four homes, forced the evacuation of hundreds of others and razed 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) of farmland and woodland in heatwave conditions in northeast Australia.

Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett said Tuesday that police have been knocking on doors of homes in the small rural communities of Baffle Creek, Deepwater, Oyster Creek and Rules Beach in Queensland state to advise residents to evacuate but some are refusing.

Hundreds of firefighters are preparing for worse conditions on Wednesday with temperatures expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and winds reaching 40 kph (25 mph).

The Bureau of Meteorology says large swathes of Queensland are experiencing record high November temperatures and the heat wave will continue for days.