Speed Reading — Sydney Bushfires - Level 4 — 200 wpm

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Australian fire-fighters are battling the worst bushfire they have seen. They dubbed it a "mega-fire". Eight different fires combined an hour's drive north of Sydney. The gigantic blaze is endangering tens of thousands of homes in its path. It is burning across a huge swath of land and is roughly 60km wide. Officials say it is burning out of control and is too vast to contain. They said: "We cannot stop these fires. They will keep burning until conditions ease."

The spread of the fires was made worse by a long drought. It is very early for forests to be so dry. Officials said: "There's a tough couple of months ahead and we've already seen the horrific consequences of fire." Sydney is covered in choking, poisonous smoke. Residents received advice about exercising outside. They say it is "unprecedented". An official said: "People's emotions are very, very tested and frail at the moment."

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