Australia set its hottest day on record on Tuesday as a heat wave continues to grip the country, fuelling fires and prompting widespread health warnings.

The small outback town of Oodnadatta in South Australia is forecast to peak at around 47C (116.6F) on Wednesday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

It will make the remote town, which has a population of around 200 people, one of the hottest places on Earth.

The unrelenting heat in the small town is forecast to last all week, and is expected to fall just shy of the 50.7C (123.26F) temperature recorded there in 1960 – a long-standing national record.

“It’s just another very hot day,” said resident Hayley Nunn.

She added: “People say to me they love summer. If you love summer, come out and experience this because you will not love it”.

Australia, which is in its first month of summer, recorded its warmest day on record on Tuesday, according to BOM’s preliminary results, with an average maximum temperature across the country of 40.9C (105.62F).

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The previous record set was in January 2013.

A firefighter conducts back-burning measures in Central Coast, New South Wales, earlier this month
Image: A firefighter conducts back-burning measures in Central Coast, New South Wales, earlier this month
A firefighter conducts back-burning measures in the Central Coast, New South Wales, earlier this month
Image: Fires have been ravaging Australia’s east for weeks

However the mark could be exceeded again on Wednesday and possibly on Thursday and Friday, according to BOM data.

The hot weather has stretched across the continent and fuelled fires that have been ravaging Australia’s east for weeks.

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Firefighters battle Australia’s ‘mega fire’

Fire authorities in New South Wales said on Wednesday there were 100 fires, half of them not contained.

Six people have died in the fires, while more than 680 homes have been destroyed and around three million acres of bushland burned.