Extreme weather continues to grip drought-ridden regions of Australia, as a number of large bushfires in the southern state of Victoria have reportedly merged into one large wildfire, stoking fears among residents who have been ordered to evacuate.

Brought on by a recent four-day heatwave drastically affecting the southern and western parts of the country, with 23 fires reported in Victoria and 39 fires reported in the island state of Tasmania. Temperatures reached a high of 102 degrees Fahrenheit in Tasmania, the hottest March day recorded in 131 years.

A reported 2,000 firefighters are currently dealing with the blazes, along with droves of volunteers. Six special aircrafts carrying waterbombs have also been sent to deal with the deadly blaze.

The fires converged Friday near Victoria's Bunyip State Park, situated roughly 40 miles east of Melbourne, where a number of lightning strikes also contributed to wildfires.

Bunyip State Park, which is 64 square miles, contains mostly dense, dry forest and swampland.

According to a 2010 risk assessment by national agency Parks Victoria, "increased bushfire impacts" and "hotter and drier recreation conditions" were two out of six key areas of risk for parklands directly caused by climate change, with higher temperatures making brush more conducive for large-scale fires.

Including Bunyip, the parks systems cover about 17 percent of the Australian state. Officials have measured the fire to be 3,400 hectares in size.

“It’s a dangerous time, putting it bluntly,” Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp told viewers on Sunday during an emergency briefing, adding that the fires put both members of local communities and rescuers in harm's way.

Reuters also reported that while rural communities and townships have been evacuated, at least three homes and a handful of properties were destroyed as of noon on Sunday.

There have been no reports of casualties or injuries.

According to a report issued by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, this summer is the hottest on record, with a "persistent period of significant heat" that has lasted since December, the beginning of summer in the Southern hemisphere.

"The heat we saw this summer was unprecedented. While the final numbers are yet to be analyzed, we know it will be the warmest on record for Australia as a whole, and many individual locations will have broken summer heat records as well," said climatologist Dr. Lynette Bettio in an official statement from the BOM.

The report also states that this summer marks one of the 10 driest on record, fueling a deepening drought that has crippled the country's agricultural sector.

Climate change has been blamed for a number of environmental disasters in the country over the years, including widespread bushfires in 2009, which local media dubbed "Black Saturday." The 2009 fires killed 173 people and injured 414, with Bunyip State Park among the areas most affected. Bushfires burned 45 percent of the park.

Kangaroo crosses road during drought
From abandoned baby kangaroos to wallabies being blinded by the sun and koalas having to go walkabout to look for eucalyptus leaves, Australia's exotic wild animals are struggling to adapt to a crippling drought. PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images