Forest fires in the State of Victoria, southeastern Australia, fanned by high winds, last week became a Commonwealth calamity. Thousands of miles of timberland were burned black. The fires raged in some areas on 40-mile fronts. In Melbourne, sweating under a temperature of 114° (see p. 29), smoke came down so thick that visibility was limited to a block. It was dark by 3 p.m. in the country. Much of Melbourne's watershed was devastated, increasing the probability that water consumption, already restricted because of the drought, would have to be further cut...

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