Australian Wildfires Destroy 103 Homes on Christmas Day
Out of control wildfires near the Great Ocean Road destroyed at least 103 homes on Friday, forcing residents to flee nearby towns, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews.
About 85 houses in Wye River and 18 at Separation Creek were engulfed by fire that has burned more than 2,000 hectares in the Australian state, according to the report. Residents and holidaymakers who fled Lorne and Allenvale to go to safer areas were allowed to return earlier today, ABC said.
No casualties have been reported. Cooler weather and heavy rain overnight slowed the spread of the fire though fire fighters warned they have yet to bring the situation under control, the report said.
Australia’s hot, dry climate makes wildfires a major risk in the southern hemisphere’s summer. In February 2009, bush fires across Victoria state killed 173 people and destroyed 150 homes in the worst blazes in the nation’s history. Wildfires in February 2014 destroyed about 20 properties in Victoria, while fires in January of that year burned 52 homes on the eastern fringes of Perth.
(Updates number of homes destroyed in first, second paragraph.)