Australia — A spokesman says fire officials have confirmed that 640 houses have been destroyed in Australia’s deadly wildfires and that tally will rise.
Hayden Lane of the Victoria Country Fire Service said Sunday that 550 of the houses confirmed as destroyed in Saturday’s fires are in the area of Kinglake, north of the main southern city of Melbourne. The others were in nearby areas.
Police say at least 35 people have died in the blazes, and they expect the death toll is likely to rise further.
High temperatures and strong winds created furnace-like conditions across southern Victoria state on Saturday, though conditions eased Sunday.
A fire truck moves away from out of control flames from a bushfire in the Bunyip Sate Forest near the township of Tonimbuk, 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of Melbourne, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. Walls of flame roared across southeastern Australia, razing scores of homes, forests and farmland in the sunburned country’s worst wildfire disaster in a quarter century. (AP Photo)