Jan. 7 - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard tours parts of Tasmania destroyed by bushfires. Julie Noce reports.
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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured parts of scorched Tasmania Monday as the region continues to battle massive bushfires.
Gillard walked through the ruins of a primary school with parents and students.
Earlier, Gillard offered words of encouragement to the victims.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER JULIA GILLARD, SAYING:
"To all of those people I do want to say: We are thinking of you in these moments of grief and despair, and we will be working with you in the days to come."
Officials say the hottest heatwave in 80 years which began in Western Australia last week has spread east across the nation.
Bushfires were ablaze in five of Australia's six states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales.
Authorities warned earlier that much of the country faced extreme fire conditions this season, after several years of cooler conditions had aided forest growth, and created dry fire fuel conditions.
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