| GEO World|
| Australian fires threaten to intensify|
| Updated at: 1149 PST, Friday, February 27, 2009|
SYDNEY: Thousands of anxious Australians in the country's scorched southeast fled their homes Friday as wildfires which killed more than 200 people threatened to intensify.
More than 3,000 firefighters were on the ground attempting to contain four major blazes ahead of a dangerous change in afternoon winds, as temperatures climbed towards 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
Thousands of anxious locals abandoned their homes for the safety of evacuation centers, with authorities warning that conditions were the worst since the devastating February 7 firestorm that killed 210 people and razed more than 2,000 homes.