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As Australia Battles Worst Wildfires in Decades, Call for Abbott to Act on Climate

Australian Greens leader: 'The Abbott Government has to stop climate denial.'

 Smoke rises from the Adelaide Hills fire on Jan. 3.  (Photo: Stephen Beaumont/flickr/cc)

Firefighters in southern Australia continued to battle on Tuesday what are said to be the nation's worst wildfires in decades.

Efforts to contain the fires, which have raged for days, come as Australia's Bureau of Meteorology stated that 2014 marked the country's third-warmest calendar year since records began in 1910.

The fires in South Australia have swept through at least 150 miles, destroying dozens of homes, sending over 20 people to the hospital, forcing thousands to flee, and killing scores of pets and livestock.

South Australia’s Country Fire Service chief Greg Nettleton said: "Right at this moment, residents in the Adelaide Hills are being confronted by a fire which hasn’t been seen in the hills since the 1983 bushfires of Ash Wednesday." Those fires claimed (pdf) the lives of 75 people, 28 of them in South Australia.

Euronews has this video of crews working to contain the fires:

NBC News has a brief video showing the scenes as well:

"Unless there are rapid, substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and globally, Australia will experience more heat waves and bush fires as in 2014," David Karoly, a professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement to Reuters.

Urging Prime Minister Abbott to take such climate action is Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne.

"The Abbott Government has to stop climate denial and help to get the country prepared to adapt to the more extreme conditions," Milne said, ABC News reported.

"Accept global warming is real and let's get on with working together to plan for resilience in the face of extreme weather events," she added.

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