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Rally Australia cancelled because of concern over wildfires

COFFS HARBOUR, Australia -- The final round of the World Rally Championship has been cancelled because of concerns over destructive wildfires near the venue in the northeast of Australia's most populous state.

Rally Australia organizers initially proposed a revised, shortened route but took the decision Tuesday to cancel the event as New South Wales state braced for extreme fire danger.

The New South Wales government declared a weeklong state of emergency with hot, dry and windy conditions expected to worsen. Hundreds of schools were closed and residents were urged to evacuate woodlands as 50 fires blazed across the state.