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MALLEE firefighters have given up New Year's celebrations with their families to defend communities in East Gippsland as fires rage, threatening lives, homes and entire towns.

At the time of print yesterday, East Gippsland fires had claimed at least 60 homes, 176 properties had been lost in New South Wales and 17 people had been confirmed dead across NSW, Victoria and South Australia in bushfires since October.

The Guardian

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