Wildfire in Australia, more than 100 homes gutted



Zeenews Bureau

Hobart: A massive wildfire in southern Tasmania in Australia gutted more than 100 homes as officials searched for any casualties amidst the burnt ruins.

Though not a single death has been reported so far, but the police is still in search for the 100 missing people and the officials are yet to be sure that the extensive blaze that engulfed huge swathes of forest and farmlands didn’t claim any life.

Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said that 11 teams were busy scouring the charred debris in places like town of Dunalley , east of Hobart that saw more than 70 buildings charred.

"Until we've had the opportunity to do all the screening that we need to do at each of those premises, we can't say for certain that there hasn't been a human life or more than one human life lost as a result of these fires," Tilyard told reporters.

Three fires continued to burn out of control in southern Tasmania and in the northwest Monday. Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who flew to Tasmania on Monday, warned that New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, was about to move into a period of extreme heat Tuesday when the wildfire risk would be high.

"We live in a country that is hot and dry and where we sustain very destructive fire periodically," Gillard told reporters. "Whilst you would not put any one event down to climate change ... we do know over time that as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events and conditions."

New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said more than 90 wildfires were blazing across the state Monday and warned that conditions would worsen on Tuesday. No homes were currently under threat.

The temperate across much the state was expected to reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) while winds were expected as high as 80 kilometers an hour ( 50 miles an hour).

Wildfires are common during the Australian summer. In February 2009, hundreds of fires across Victoria state killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.

With Agency Inputs