Heat and winds are threatening to widen Australia’s bushfire crisis, with two states warned to expect their worst conditions of the season so far.

Soaring temperatures in South Australia prompted “catastrophic” alerts – the highest danger rating – on Wednesday.

Tasmania is also predicted to see its worst conditions yet on Thursday, though its forecast is less extreme.

Six people have died since last month in massive bushfires which are burning elsewhere in the country.

Those blazes – in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland – have destroyed more than 500 houses and prompted debates on the impacts of drought and climate change.

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