Publishedduration4 hours agoshareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightReutersimage captionFirefighters have been battling to bring the bushfire under control since mid-October

Residents of a coastal resort town on a popular Australian holiday island have been told to leave immediately by authorities as a bushfire worsens.

Firefighters are struggling to control the huge bushfire on Fraser Island, off the east coast of Queensland.

The bushfire was sparked by an illegal campfire in mid-October and has destroyed at least 82,500 hectares of the Unesco World Heritage site.

A heatwave in south-east Australia has exacerbated bushfire conditions.

The Fraser Island fires are among the most serious since the end of last summer. Australia's 2019-20 bushfire season was its most intense on record, though not its most deadly.

It saw blazes affect every Australian state, sweeping across 24m hectares of land, destroying more than 3,000 homes and killing or displacing nearly three billion animals.

Scientists have linked climate change to the intensity of the bushfire season.