• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Hundreds flee homes as bushfires kill one

Extreme heat and high winds fanned dozens of bushfires across Australia yesterday, prompting hundreds to flee their homes in some of the worst conditions seen since Black Saturday in 2009.

One person died in the Grampians bushland in the south-eastern state of Victoria, about 186 miles west of Melbourne, where bushfires are burning out of control amid temperatures that have hit above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees F), destroying or damaging houses.

Victoria was the hardest hit, with 70 bushfires burning out of control. Dozens of blazes are burning in South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.

Authorities have issued seven emergency warnings to severely affected areas, prompting hundreds of residents to leave their homes.

Victoria Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said conditions were "up there" as the worst since the fires that killed 173 people in 2009.

Mr Lapsley said the fire in the Grampians bushland was so intense it had "created its own weather", triggering lightning and spot fires. He said strong wind changes and thunderstorms forecast for last night could exacerbate conditions.

A Victoria Country Fire Authority spokeswoman said: "There is a stronger wind expected to come through there and that could create worse conditions."

Contextual targeting label: 

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.