01/09/2013 12:41 pm ET

Australia Wildfire Photos Capture Scorching Heat

Hundreds of wildfires raged across southern Australia this week as the country suffered from its hottest days on record.

"The heat has been so intense that tar on the road has been melting and sticking to my shoes," retired Australian journalist Malcolm Brown told Reuters.

Temperatures reached an all-time high on Monday, hitting a a nationwide average of 40.33 degrees Celsius (104.59 degrees Fahrenheit).

"There's little doubt that this is a very, very extreme heat wave event," David Jones, manager of climate monitoring and prediction at the Bureau of Meteorology, explained to the Associated Press. "If you look at its extent, its duration, its intensity, it is arguably the most significant in Australia's history," he added.

Take a look at some mind-blowing photos from Down Under in the slideshow below.

Australian Wildfires