Australian brush fires wipe out towns

Australian brush fires wipe out towns

7 February 2009

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Australia — The confirmed death toll from bush fires in southern Australia was 35 Sunday and officials said some towns in the state of Victoria have been wiped out.

Officials said the number of deaths is expected to top 40, The Age reported. There have been reports of severely burned victims, many of them in intensive care.

“We pray there’s no more loss of life over the next few days,” Victorian Premier John Brumby said, choking back tears at a news conference in Kilmore, north of Melbourne.

Brumby called Saturday “the worst day ever in the history of the state in terms of temperatures and winds.”

Some of the fires Saturday were believed to have been set despite warnings about how quickly they could spread.

Two of the hardest hit towns were Kinglake, north of Melbourne, and Marysville. Both were said to be gutted by fire.

Six people in one car were killed Saturday in Kinglake and another six died in Kinglake West. The entire population of Marysville was evacuated Saturday morning in a convoy.

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