Sydney, Feb 8: Australian bushfires, one of the worst wildlife disaster in last three decades, claimed atleast 25 lives and burnt hundreds of homes. Police sources said that the death toll could rise to more than 40.
More than 30,000 firefighters struggled on Saturday, Feb 7 night to make headway against the largest of about a dozen fires in Victoria state that earlier in the day ripped unchecked across at least 115 square miles of forests, farmland and towns. Reports suggest that atleast 640 houses are destroyed and the tally is expected to rise.
Witnesses claimed that they saw trees exploding and skies raining ash. High temperature combined with raging winds are making condition worse and fire uncontrollable.
Kieran Walshe, the Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner confirmed 25 deaths and said that the number may rise further. "We believe numbers will rise as we get further into the fire zones this morning," Walshe said.
Australia's worst wildfire tragedy was in 1983, when 75 people were killed in two states.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)