Australian killed fighting bushfire, 16 homes lost

Australian killedfighting bushfire, 16 homes lost

15 December 2006

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Australia — An Australian firefighter was killed when he was run over by atruck and 16 more homes have been destroyed by bushfires burning across threestates, but authorities said today weather conditions had eased.

A 48-year-old man fighting a deliberately lit bushfire in Victoria state waskilled yesterday when he fell from a truck and was hit by another trucktravelling behind, said authorities.

“It was almost like the Vietnam War in the movies. There were helicoptersand noise and the smoke, it was like a battlefield and I felt helpless,”said Helen Hoppner, an innkeeper, describing the firestorm the man was fighting.

Sixteen houses were destroyed in bushfires that ripped through several towns inVictoria’s east last night. A total of 21 properties have been lost in Victoriasince the bushfires began two weeks ago.

Blazes sparked by lightning strikes
In Victoria state, more than 4 000 Australian and New Zealand firefighters werebattling 19 blazes sparked by lightning strikes that have burnt 500 000ha ofrugged mountain bush land and which threaten several towns.

Bushfires in the states of New South Wales and Tasmania are also burning out ofcontrol. Residents in the Tasmanian hamlet of Four Mile Creek fled to the beachyesterday as a wall of fire swept through their seaside village.

Fourteen houses have been destroyed in Tasmania.

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