Australia records third-hottest July

Mean maximum temperature 2.23C above average as authorities predict fire season worse than average

Australia has just experienced its third-hottest July on record, beaten only by records set in 2017 and 2018, as fire and water authorities in the eastern states prepare for a worse than average fire season.

The year-to-date temperatures from January to July were the second warmest on record, according to a monthly statement from the Bureau of Meteorology. Rainfall recorded during that period is the fifth lowest on record, with the drought worst in New South Wales, southern Queensland, and eastern and central Victoria.

Related: July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists

Bush fire season starts in 12 local government areas across NSW today due to continuing dry conditions. Don’t be the fire risk to your community. Check if permits are required for your area at https://t.co/HK6egynjyv #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/YAiUCrZxWQ

Related: Coalition’s emissions reduction fund labelled ‘a joke’ after first post-election auction

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