Australia - Summer 2009 6-8 Year Drought
Firestorms Victoria - Extreme Weather Adelaide
Fires & Heatwave NSW - Floods in Queensland
Koala Needs a Drink

Wall of Flame - Firefighters were not able to get within 200m of the Fire
Photographer Unknown 2009

House Fire
A Home in the Line of FIRE

These pages consists of Photographs of the Firestorm
in Victoria that has claimed the lives of at least 180 people, which could rise to over 300..

Photos & Stories © Sky News, Daily Telegraph Sydney, Online News and other sources. All remain the property of the photographer. Used on this site for education purposes only

Official BushFire Red Cross Appeal
To Donate Visit Below Site

Red Cross Logo

Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009

The 2009 Victorian bushfire Fund to assist individuals and communities affected by devastating bushfires in Victoria has been launched by the Premier John Brumby in partnership with Red Cross and the Federal Government. At the below site: Victorian Bushfires - high website activity Due to unprecedented activity in response to the Victorian Bushfires we are currently experiencing a high system load. If you encounter problems, please be patient and try again later. Thank you for your support.

By Greg

It has been quite a traumatic time for myself, my mother and my family and friends, as we have watched this tragedy un-fold daily, like most Australians have. This Summer in Australia has produced record breaking temperatures across the country. For weeks, Adelaide & Victoria had experienced prolonged periods of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. In the past few weeks Sydney's West & South-West have had temperatures also in the high 30's and last week experienced 40 Degrees for four days straight, peaked at 46 Celsius on Sunday.

Friday's forecast for Victoria
February 13th, 2009

After almost a week of high temps the below forecast was a welccome relief for fire fighters

Forecast Map Friday 6th February 2009

State Forecast - Light showers Gippsland. Generally dry elsewhere.
Cool morning then mostly sunny and a little warmer

Water Saved Lives

Cool heads: Guided by Instinct, fireman save 19 people by leading them to water to escape the fierce flames at Muurrindindi Saturday.








Firestorm: Firefighters were kept back
to 200m from these Flames

The Daily Telegraph & Sydney Herald Sydney Newspaper Reports

Australia - Summer 2009 6-8 Year Drought
Firestorms Victoria - Extreme Weather Adelaide - Fires & Heatwave NSW - Floods in Queensland

Leading up to these horrific fires were conditions which were forecast.
Below articles and photographs from the Daily Telegraph & Sydney Herald Newspapers Online


On Friday February 6th 2009 we were warned by a headline in the Sydney Daily Telegraph that stated that,:

"Here it comes: NSW facing record heatwave. 47 Degrees Celsius-Hottest Place on the Planet.".

NSW will become the hottest place on Earth on Sunday with the state set to roast in temperatures up to 47C. Health alerts were issued last night as CityRail was forced to slow trains and firefighters warned of devastating bushfires. Global forecasting sites yesterday predicted nowhere on the planet will come close to NSW's mind-melting weather. Not even the plains of Africa or the deserts of the Middle East will be as hot as NSW on Sunday. The state will become the hottest place on the planet, with the current heatwave sending temperatures soaring to 47C. Worst hit will be residents in the western NSW towns of Ivanhoe, Tibooburra, and Broken Hill.

Sydney will not be spared either, with the mercury set to reach 44C, in the western suburbs of Penrith on Sunday. In NSW, the Bureau of Meteorology said the central-western townships of Griffith and Broken Hill had already been affected by the heatwave, with the temperatures exceeding 40C for record breaking nine days straight.

Intense Heat

By Saturday February 7th 2009 the small Headlines read: 47C Heatwave. Still not allot was heard of or said about Victoria or South Australian Heatwave's in the newspaper, only on the radio and tv, which by now had broken records in Melbourne and both states.

Nothing Left
Scorched Earth: A Survivor drives through the charred forest near Kinglake north of Melbourne, yesterday. Tuesday Feb 11th

The fires were fanned by 100 km/h winds and searing temperatures. Raging flames came within 50 metres of the home of conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna near Kilmore, north of Melbourne yesterday. The Children's First Foundation farm, home to the Bangladesh twins as well as a dozen other ill, injured and disadvantaged children from around the world, narrowly escaped disaster thanks to firefighters. Foundation founder Moira Kelly said 11 children were evacuated yesterday morning, while the twins had been taken to Melbourne on Friday night as fire warnings circulated.

"It's just unbelievable but as long as my kids ar OK, that's al that maters," she said. "the CFA saved our house. The fire was heading to the house on two fronts-Saunders Rd, Kilmore and the pine trees behind us. Playground equipment melted and the fire got within 50m of the house. It's just unreal. Power to Melbourne was also under threat as fires raged near the Loy Yang power station in the Latrobe Valley.

On Sunday February 8th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline at the bottom of the cover reading: 14 Killed In Blazes. At least 14 people died in terrifying bushfires that swept across Victoria on the hottest day in the state's history yesterday. However, police warned the final death toll could be as high as 40.

Deputy police commissioner Kieran Walshe said it was feared many more had perished in what would be the worst fire disaster since the 1963 Ash Wednesday blazes.

He said six people died at Kinglake, four at Wandong, three at Strathewen and one at Clonbinane. All the Kinglake dead were in one vehicle. More than 100 homes are believed to have been lost in the nine major blazes that devastated much of the state. "We suspect a number of the fires have been deliberately lit," Mr Walshe said.

Australia's worst bushfires occurred on February 16, 1983-Ash Wednesday-when over 100 fires across Victoria and South Australia left 75 people dead and destroyed 3000 buildings. One of the worst fires yesterday occurred at Kinglake, to Melbourne's northeast.

Country Fire Authority deputy fire commissioner Greg Anof said the blaze had also claimed a substantial number of properties. He said up to 150 residents had been forced to take refuge in the local police station."

It's been horrible," he said. "We threw virtually everything we had at it today." A Kinglake resident, Michael, called the ABC to describe the situation but broke off dramatically when he saw the fire approaching. He said:

"it's been very red, very smoky, very hot and quite scary. We've had fire in our street. I've got to go. I'm sorry I've got to go. The fire's close.

<<<<<Part 2<<<<<

On Monday February 9th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline reading: Bushfire Apocalypse-HELL'S FURY. 84 Dead: Toll To Soar; 750 Homes Destroyed; Arsonists Relight Fires. Thousands of people are homeless and at least 84 people confirmed dead in Victoria's weekend inferno. The bushfires are Australia's worst natural disaster.

As the day wore on the death toll had risen dramatically.

Scorched Earth
Like Burnt Match Sticks: The intensity of the bushfires is revealed
yesterday in this Victorian Forest reduced to ash.

On Tuesday February 10th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline reading: A Nation Mourns-Apocalypse Now 130 Dead: 500 Homeless; Amazing Survival Stories. By now it was beginning to look as though there would be upwards of 300+ deaths by the end of this, and some estimates are above 500.;

Battling On: Shane Chapman used a garden hose to save his home
at Hazelwood South, near Churchill yesterday-Tuesday Feb 10th

On Wednesday February 11th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline reading: Honey, I'm Alive- Victoria's Inferno-Death Toll Soars to 181-Donations top $28 Million. It is what Bill calls the "fantastic moment". As the toll of the Victorian bushfires soared to 181 yesterday, amazing stories continued to emerge-none more uplifting that that of BIll Carta and wife Sherrill. After being separated by the inferno they were finally reunited in hospital. Bill said:" We didn't realise both of us were still breathing."

Destroyed  Homes
All Gone: An Ariel view of Marysville yesterday showed the town
had lost all but a few buildings. Photograph: Mark Smith

On Thursday February 12th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline reading: 300- Police Chief prepares Nation ofr Horrific Toll as Her Officers close in on Arsonists. Victoria's State Coroner is prepared for a death toll as high as 300 as the full horror ofthe bushfires unfolds. Police Commissioner Christine Nizon said Australia should brace fro the worst, warning that many of those killed in the infernos which devestated towns north of Melbourne would never be identified.

Kinglake Fire Gutters Home

On Friday - February 13th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline reading: Families Give $76 Million For Victims of Bushfire- Heart of a Nation. Serial arsonists at large.

Forensics Hard at Work

On Saturday - February 14th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline reading: Most Wanted & Hated - Revealed: Strange Loner Accused of Lighting Bushfires.

Firerstorm Rips Across Main Road

On Sunday - February 15th 2009 the Newspaper had a headline reading: Black Saturday The Aftermath - Bushfire Families Return A Tribute to the Lost.

I decided to stop here.....201 is the official toll, which they believe it will not rise much more-if at all.
Very tragic. R.I.P To those who have passed away.

Firefighters  Fight Fire


Victoria braces for worst-ever fire Conditions


By Roslyn Lanigan
February 05, 2009 12:48pm

  FORECASTERS have warned Saturday's extreme temperatures could create Victoria's worst-ever bushfire conditions. Bureau of Meteorology fire weather forecaster Scott Williams said firefighters and the community were "looking at an extremely dangerous day", with temperatures well above 40C predicted for much of the state, the Weekly Times reports. "It could be the highest fire danger rating ever achieved in the state," Mr Williams said. He likened the conditions to "a certain day 26 years ago" - Ash Wednesday - with a southwest wind change predicted in the evening.

Buckle Up For The Heatwave


By Michelle & Michael Holland
February 06, 2009

Tips To Stay Cool

Drink plenty of water to keep fluids up - Go to Airconditioned places such as shopping centres and cinemas - If out in the sun or at the beach, don't forget to "slip, slop, slap" - Do not leave children or animals in cars - Avoid outdoor exercise or strenuous physical activity, especially in the middle of the day - Check on elderly relatives and neighbours and make sure they are coping and keeping their fluids up - Symptons of heat exhaustion include nausea, dizziness and vomiting - If these symptons occur, lay the person down and apply cool, wet towels around the neck and under the arms. Make them drink lots of fluids. PROVIDED by the NSW Ambulance Service.

Trains slowed as Sydney Sizzles

SYdney s Landscape

By Michelle Cazzulino, Malcolm Holland and Malcolm Farr
February 06, 2009 03:22pm

Part 1

SYDNEY trains will be forced to slow down in anticipation of sagging power lines and buckling tracks as NSW prepares to be the hottest place on the planet on Sunday. CityRail has ordered train drivers to slow services down by 10km/h - the standard protocol during hot weather. The restrictions kicked in today and will be re-assessed throughout the weekend as temperatures rise and fall. Trains will run on a normal weekend timetable, except where there is scheduled trackwork, but no other precautions will be necessary, no matter how hot conditions become. "The CityRail network has never really been shut down due to heat and we're not foreseeing that will be the case this weekend either,'' a spokesman said. The decision comes as NSW prepares to become the hottest place in the world on Sunday, with temperatures expected to soar to 47C. Not even the plains of Africa or the deserts of the Middle East will be as hot. Ambulance officers took four elderly people to hospital for heat-related illnesses today in Sydney as temperatures hit the high 30s in the city's west.

NSW Health spokesman Dr Jeremy McAnulty said there had already been double the usual number of people treated for heat-related illnesses in January, with 80 people being admitted to emergency departments. Worst hit in this weekend's heatwave will be residents in the western NSW towns of Ivanhoe, Tibooburra and Broken Hill. Sydney will not be spared either, with the mercury set to reach 44C in the western suburb of Penrith. More than 70,000 Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers are on high alert, with extreme temperatures and dry conditions forecast for more than 60 per cent of NSW. Authorities are warning firebugs to consider the potentially deadly consequences of lighting fires. And residents have been told not to be complacent and to have fire plans in place. Up to 1,000 NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) personnel will also be standing by on the urban fringes of Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Central Coast as the mercury reaches the mid-40s in central and southern NSW.

Total fire bans have been declared across the state including the greater Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra regions, with the exception of the northeast corner of the state. NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins issued a chilling reminder for people to cast their minds back to the devastating 1994 Ash Wednesday fires. "The biggest enemy of firefighters in conditions like this is complacency and lack of knowledge," Mr Mullins said. "If people think it won't happen to them, all they need to do is think back to 1994 and 2001 where fires burnt literally into the suburbs of Sydney as close as Chatswood." While the hot, dry and windy conditions are expected to pose an extreme fire danger, parents across the state have also been warned their children's sports matches may not go ahead if coaches deem it too hot to play. The initiative has been applauded by medical authorities, who said the unusually warm conditions were particularly dangerous for the young and the elderly. Nursing homes have been ordered to take special precautions to protect their 170,000 elderly residents from the heat wave.

Government officials will begin an audit of all 3000 nursing homes in Australia to ensure appropriate air conditioning facilities are installed. The audit was previously planned but will be stepped up.

Trains: Go-slow planned after track buckling fears

The heatwave conditions across Australia are not being experienced anywhere else in the world. A search of global forecasting sites by The Daily Telegraph yesterday found no other temperatures would come near 47C.

>>>>>>Part 2>>>>>


Part 2

Parts of central east Africa and a few places in Pakistan will reach the mid-to high-30s, with towns and cities bordering the Sahara desert and sub-Saharan Africa due for mild, cloudy days on Sunday in the mid-20s.

Gallery: How animals beat the heat
Gallery: Aussie humans try not to swelter
Gallery: Queensland floods as we sweat

In NSW, the Bureau of Meteorology said the central-western townships of Griffith and Broken Hill had already been affected by the heatwave, with the temperatures exceeding 40C for a record-breaking nine days. The nights have also been warm, with temperatures staying close to 25C. Meteorologist Deryn Griffiths said the trend would continue across the weekend, with no respite in inland areas. "Large parts of the state are going to be in the mid-40s for the weekend and even western Sydney will reach 44C on Sunday," she said. "Right along the coast you'll get sea breezes and we're expecting it to be cooler, but the temperatures will still be in the mid-30s." A cool change would bring a high of just 27C for Monday, with the mercury plummeting to 21C on Tuesday.

Latest weather information

With little or no rainfall expected in between, NSW Medical Association president Dr Brian Moreton said it was important that people who were planning physical activity were sensible about it. "We ought to have sports organisations recognising that just as they'll cancel an event if it's too wet, they should be doing the same when it's the opposite, when it's an unusual heatwave," he said. Penrith Junior Cricket Association president Greg Liggins said an email had already gone out to clubs warning that games would be called off if coaches felt it was too hot for players. "We have a duty of care to our kids and we won't take any unnecessary steps to jeopardise their health," he said. "If we do end up playing, we'll make sure that extra drink breaks are taken." With fans and air-conditioners likely to run all weekend, energy suppliers are also bracing for trouble. In Sydney, the system hit peak demand yesterday, with more than 14,000mW of electricity being used, creating a new summer record. Energy Australia spokesman Anthony O'Brien said additional maintenance crews had been rostered to ensure problems were dealt with quickly.

"You can't give a cast-iron guarantee that there won't be any faults, particularly if it gets very hot in areas like Broken Hill but the most important thing is to make sure the network is in a state to operate at maximum efficiency, which is what we've done," he said. Officials from the Department of Environment and Climate Change will meet in Sydney today to discuss the closure of national parks. A spokesman said parks experiencing extreme temperatures would be closed to the public as a safety precaution. Officers will be briefed by their fire management unit before making a final decision. "We have closed parks in the past because of extreme weather. We are doing it for the safety of the public," the spokesman said. Meanwhile, soaring temperatures in the national capital have prompted authorities to declare a total fire ban in the ACT.

With temperatures in Canberra tipped to hit 40 degrees on Saturday and 38 on Sunday, the ACT Emergency Services Agency is warning a number of nature reserves will be closed because of the conditions. This will include the Googong foreshores, Molonglo Gorge Kowen, parts of Namadgi National Park and the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Canberra Nature Park and Pine Forest areas will be open to the public before 11am. Authorities said electric barbecues would be provided at the Cotter, Casuarina Sands and Pine Island and in Canberra's urban parks. However, all gas barbecues will be turned off. The ESA says the fire ban won't effect the ACT's annual multicultural festival on this weekend.

NSW Faces The Furnace


By Michelle Cazzulino & Vicki Campion
February 07, 2009

Sporting organisations across the state will monitor today's soaring temperatures before deciding to abandon games. With NSW braced for one of the hottest days on record, figures reveal Sydneysiders are increasingly unable to cope with extreme weather. Several sports organisations have called off weekend games, with a Football Federation Australia Spokesman confirming "numerous" matches have been cancelled. While all grade cricket matches will go ahead , extra drinks breaks have been scheduled, while the start of today's race meet at Rosehill has been pushed back to 2.30pm. With the mercury expected to reach the mid-40s today and even higher tomorrow, medical authorities have urged people to safeguard their health by drinking plenty of water, staying indoors and looking out for the sick and elderly. Nursing homes have been ordered to take special precautions to protect their 170,000 residents from the heat, with Government officials stepping up an audit to ensure appropriate air conditioning facilities are installed.

Emergency services are bracing for the hot conditions, after NSW Health figures revealed a "marked upsurge" in the number of heat-related illnesses last month. Doctors saw 80 cases last month, compared with an average of 41 in previous years. Ambulance call-outs have more that tripled with 68 responses in January compared with an average of 20 in previous years. Dr Gordian Fulde head of emergency at St Vincent's Hospital, said people were likely to get "more aggressive" and intolerant of each other, and even of themselves" in extreme conditions. "They lose their tempers. [On Thursday] we saw a spate of accidents because people were short-fused. We saw motorbike accidents involving cars where, in my opinion, the car drivers weren't trying hard enough to avoid the motorcyclists, " he said.

People were also more likely to self-harm when under heat-related duress, he added. NSW Health spokesman Dr Jeremy McAnulty said people should rest, drink water and cut down on caffeine and alcohol. His warnings were echoed by Premier Nathan Rees, who said he was confident the state's infrastructure would cope with the extra demand posed by the weather. Similarly hot conditions in Melbourne last week saw power outages and major problems with the city's train network. Mr Rees said there would be no repeat of that in Sydney. "Al the advice to me is that it's robust," he said.

Rural Fire Service crews were also on alert, with Sydneysiders asked to obey total fire ban notifications. "We have some 70,000 volunteers on standby," Mr rees said. A NSW Ambulance spokesman said a "major incident plan" was in place if a "heat outbreak" took place. Retailer gerry Harvey yesterday said sudden increased demand for portable air conditioners had caused a national shortage. "We got 1400 portables last week and kept them for Sydney. At least half will be gone already, the rest by the weekend," he said. "There is virtually none left in Australia. [The customers] don't care if it's a display model they don't care if it's got a dent."

Recent fatal bushfires in Australia

AAP February 07, 2009 12:00am
THE Black Saturday bushfires are the worst to hit Victoria since the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.

Som Recent Fatall Bushfires in Australia

Feb 7, 2009 - Fourteen people confirmed killed and fears for up to 40 in bushfires across rural Victoria
Dec 30, 2007 - Blaze kills three truckers on a highway near Coolgardie in WA
Jan 2006 - Three deaths and multi-million-dollar stock and property losses in 10 days of bushfires in Victoria
Jan 11, 2005 - Nine lives lost in South Australian Eyre Peninsula bushfires
Dec 2003 - Two women die as they try to outrun flames near Tenterden, 350km south-east of Perth
Jan 18, 2003 - Four people die and almost 500 homes are razed in a massive firestorm in Canberra
Dec 2002 - Two men die and more than 20 homes lost in bushfires that spread from rural NSW to ring Sydney
Dec 2, 1998 - Bushfire claims five firefighters at Linton in Victoria
Dec 2, 1997 - Two die in bushfires at Lithgow in NSW
Jan 21, 1997 - Three people die and 33 homes destroyed in bushfires that ravaged the Dandenong Ranges on Melbourne's eastern outskirts
Jan 1994 - Four die, 200 properties lost, several hundred people injured as bushfires from rural NSW descend on Sydney
Feb 16, 1983 - Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim 76 people
Feb 7, 1967 - Bushfires kill 59 people in southern Tasmania

Australia wakes to a terrible toll as bushfires Burns

SYdney s Landscape

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

Part 1

THEY were lost before we knew they were gone. At 9pm on Saturday, TV news reports spoke of no deaths. Houses had been razed, properties scorched. There were stories of great escapes and victims vowed to rebuild. But no one yet could know just how many gruesome revelations awaited. Of the badly burned Kinglake man kept alive for six hours by being submerged in a pool by friends. Of the Marysville man who lost his wife and daughter while fighting fires. Of the motorcyclist burnt alive in St Andrews. Of the woman who left fighting the fires to try to save her goats - found dead by her son in a shed. As Victorians went to bed on Saturday night and confusion reigned, some hoped that the worst of the news concerned properties lost. Perhaps deaths had been avoided. No one knew that dozens were already dead.

First, there was talk of one death.
Then six. About 10.30pm, Premier John Brumby announced 14.
By Sunday morning, it was thought that up to 40 were lost.
The estimates would rise to 100.

Twenty-six were confirmed dead at 11am. By 12.30pm, as firefighters battled seven major fronts, it was 35. It was worse than anyone dared imagine. Something like 26 fires would blaze through Victoria on Saturday. As Melbourne awoke to what would be the hottest day ever - 46.4C - fires already raged in Bunyip State Park. These jumped containment lines late morning. Everyone, including firefighters, got out of its path. Nursing homes were evacuated. The Kilmore East fire began about 11am. Within an hour it jumped the Hume Highway, racing towards houses. It appears it marched due east, through the Great Dividing Range, winds fanning it 30km through Wallan, Clonbinane, Wandong and Kinglake. About 150 homes were lost in Wandong and at least four people died.

Part 2

A badly-burnt man and his daughter turned up at a property where Marie Jones was staying. He had skin hanging "off him everywhere". The man told her: "Look, I've lost my wife, I've lost my other kid, I just need you to save (my daughter).'' The fire's speed stunned everyone, including firefighting veterans. One watched as it crested a hill and raced 1.5km in five minutes. A few hours after the Kilmore fire first erupted, the Murrundindi fire flared.

At some point, the two fronts appeared to join to form a front 100km wide and continue to rage eastwards. Marysville, which now looms as one of the deadliest fireballs, was not added to the list of affected towns until yesterday morning. The flames were described as a "holocaust". Yesterday the main street was black. Only the bakery appeared to be standing. Two horses were the only sign of life. Marysville highlighted the wider logistical problems. Fire crews of up to 40 trucks and planes could not get into the town, a scenario spelt out by frustrated CFA heads on Saturday night, mainly because of fallen trees and burnt-out cars. Earlier, as Melbourne was enveloped in an ominous grey haze and the temperature suddenly dropped 15C, the late afternoon cool change fanned fires in new directions.

The Murrundindi and Kilmore fires formed a circle of flames. There were deaths in St Andrews, Strathewen, Arthurs Creek, Humevale, Callignee, Upper Callignee, Hazelwood and Jeeralang. At about the same time the Murrundindi blaze erupted, Coliban Park Rd, near Ballarat, went up. To the north, near Bendigo, a grass fire skipped towards houses. Dozens of homes were destroyed and at least one person died. In Gippsland, a fire at Churchill burned out about 90,000ha. Late on Saturday night Premier John Brumby said it "was the worst day in our history". But even he couldn't know how bad it was. No one could.

30 homes burn near Kilmore

SYdney s Landscape

Evonne Barry
February 07, 2009 09:00pm

AS many as 30 homes were lost in Wandong and Heathcote Junction yesterday as fire threatened several towns to Melbourne's north. While some residents were celebrating near misses last night, many others were left homeless despite frantic efforts to save their properties.

Father-of-two John Coad was among those whose home was burnt to the ground in Heathcote Junction. But what bushfires destroyed Mr Coad has vowed to rebuild. "I have lived in this house for five years and in this town since I was three years old,'' he said. "I'm not leaving. "We will be rebuilding right here.'' Neighbour Pat Colliver, whose Vista Court house escaped the fire by metres, said it was "devastating''.

"This is so upsetting,'' said the mother-of-four. ``I just hope we don't find out it was deliberately lit.

That would make it even worse.'' CFA volunteer and local counsellor Sue Marstaeller said the joint towns of Wandong and Heathcote Junction would pull through the tragedy. "It won't kill us, but we are certainly in shock,'' she said. Ms Marstaeller said as many as 30 local houses had been raised.

Firestorms Destroyed Homes

Bushfires in Victoria kill at least 14, destroy hundreds of Homes

SYdney s Landscape

Staff reporters with AAP February 08, 2009 12:45am
Article from: Herald Sun

Part 1

AT least 14 people are dead and hundreds of houses destroyed by a wave of bushfires - some deliberately lit. Victoria was last night in a state of emergency as 10 major bushfires raged. All of the confirmed deaths were in rugged bushland, within 60km north east of Melbourne. Fire authorities are hopeful rain showers will slow down the raging bushfires which are ripping through hectares of bushland and destroying or damaging homes. The showers are welcome relief for more than 3000 firefighters who battled to save lives and homes in extreme temperatures across the state yesterday.Deputy Commisioner Kieran Walshe last night confirmed six people had perished in fires at King Lake, four died at Wandong, three at Strathewen and one at Clonbinane. He said the body count could extend into the 40s because rescue crews had only been able to get into the fringe areas of the worst hit towns. He could not say whether the victims were men, women or children, civilians or firefighters. But he did reveal the six people who died at King Lake were all in the same vehicle.

"This has been an absolute tragedy for the state,'' he said. "We are concerned the figure could even reach up into the forties.'' Whole towns have been cut off and thousands of people left homeless with record temperatures and fierce winds sparking devastating infernos. Deputy Commisioner Walshe said it was likely more deaths had occurred in King Lake, Mt Disappointment, Kilmore and Wandong. A man helping neighbours suffered burns to 50 per cent of his body at Coleraine and three firefighters were injured in Whittlesea. He is among eight burn victims expected to be airlifted this morning to the Alfred Hospital's emergency department. DSE deputy incident controller Rocky Barca, who worked during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, said the fire was equal to if not worse than Ash Wednesday. "It was very, very strong fire behaviour with unprecedented winds fanning the fire front," Mr Barca said. "The cooler conditions will assist firefighters but will not stop the fire."

Mr Barca said there was a signficiant firefront in the Kinglake area, heading towards Marysville and beyond in the north and north-west. More destruction and power blackouts are possible, with a statewide total fire ban declared for today. Witnesses said more than 50 homes were lost in Bendigo, as a grass fire jumped from Maiden Gully. Union St resident Trevor Piltz said dozens of neighbours saved his home, but were not as lucky, with up to 40 homes destroyed. At least three homes were destroyed near Horsham by 5pm as well as the Horsham Golf Club, a fire truck and several sheds. A primary school and dozens of homes were razed in Wandong in a fire that raged from Kilmore East to Whittlesea and Kinglake. Part 2 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Part 2

And owners of wineries and houses in the Yarra Valley were last night bracing for the worst. It was not known if the fires had been deliberately lit. More than 85 towns were last night on red alert and hundreds of people had evacuated their homes with blazes across the state's west, north-west, north-east, east and the city fringes. More than 20,000ha burned across the state with about 3000 firefighters using 500 trucks and 37 aircraft.

The fires were fanned by hot winds of up to 100kmh. The CFA predicted a major loss of homes near the Bunyip State Park east of Melbourne where a 2400ha inferno sent 40m high waves towards at least 13 towns. There were reports of several homes going up in flames in Labertouche, near Drouin.

During the fire assault:

WATER bombing helicopters fought a fire in Bunyip State Park after 350 firefighters had to retreat.
A FIRE of more than 800ha burned between Coleraine and the Glenelg Highway, near Casterton.
MILLIONS of dollars worth of damage was caused to homes in a 5700ha blaze at Vectis, west of Horsham - the biggest blaze in Victoria yesterday.
A 4000ha fire in a pine forest near Kilmore forced authorities to close the Hume Highway between Wallan and Broadford for several hours.
MORE than 15 fire trucks were sent to Churchill, near Gippsland and A 30ha fire was last night threatening homes and wineries around Yarra Glen.

CFA deputy fire chief John Haynes said the fires would continue to pose significant risk to properties and lives. "It's absolutely impossible to fight these fires,'' he said. "The weather conditions are just extreme and the danger of these fires is off the scale.'' Major fires also burned at Weerite, west of Colac, Redesdale, between Bendigo and Kilmore and Ferntree Gully. And dozens of minor fires were reported, with power lost to 20,000 homes. Firefighters fought bravely to save a children's foundation at Kilmore, north of Melbourne. They also stopped a blaze from destroying the home of Premier John Brumby's parents at Coleraine. "The fire fighters have done a magnificent job - but it is not over yet,'' Mr Brumby said. The worst bushfire to strike Victoria was the 1983 Ash Wednesday disaster when 47 people were killed in the state. Ellen Whinnett, Peter Rolfe, Wendy Hargreaves, Gareth Trickey, Julie Tullberg, staff reporters with AAP

30 homes burn near Kilmore

SYdney s Landscape

Staff reporters with AAP February 08, 2009 12:45am
Article from: Herald Sun

Lady Fireburnt ground

The house of Moira Kelly near Kilmore survived the fires, but the playground and trampoline in the front yard were destroyed. Picture: Darren Tindale

Part 2

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described the deaths confirmed so far as an appalling loss of life, and announced the activation of a commonwealth disaster plan. Residents of Kinglake have told harrowing stories of the devastating effect of the fires, with one firefighter describing the scene as "a holocaust".
Authorities have urged people to avoid Marysville and other affected areas as they remain highly dangerous. Police updated the confirmed death toll to 35 a short time ago and are expected to confirm more lives lost. Victoria Police Deputy Chief Commissioner Kieran Walshe told ABC Radio it may well be discovered that many more people have died after they became trapped in their burning homes or cars. "I must point out that those numbers will climb as we move through the day,'' Mr Walshe said.

"We are only getting into these fire zones now. "It has taken some time before the fire zones are safe so that we we can get police and emergency services personnel into these areas now behind the fires and start to look at abandoned vehicles, look at destroyed properties, at buildings and undertake the searches to see what we can find there. "We expect the number will climb considerably as the day passes on. "The community needs to be prepared for worse news to come at this point in time. "We have real concerns about some of the areas we haven't been able to get into yet. We know there are a lot of properties in those areas and we can expect that we are going to find some deceased people there.'' Mr Walshe said police believed some of the fires were deliberately lit, but would not say which ones.

The age and gender of all the victims is not yet known, but police expect that some of the lives lost will include children. Meanwhile, 18 people have been admitted to the Alfred Hospital with burns and three are in a critical condition. Seven of the injured have burns to more than 30 per cent of their bodies. Today's scheduled concert by Simply Red at Rochford Wines, in Victoria's Yarra Valley, has been cancelled because of bushfires in the area. Governor-General Quentin Bryce said the nation's thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives. "We are also, as a nation, so grateful to the firefighters, police and the huge band of volunteers who are engaged in Herculean efforts to save homes and lives,'' she said. "Our country will thank them when the time is right." - By John Ferguson and Gareth Trickey

Part 1

THE bushfire death toll continues to rise as the CFA warns arsonists are deliberately relighting fires. While firebugs are being blamed for several blazes ravaging Victoria, the Country Fire Authority has confirmed that several fires are being deliberately relit by arsonists. CFA deputy chief Steve Warrington said an arsonist is hampering firefighters’ efforts in Churchill with an intense blaze taking hold. "We know we do have someone who is lighting fires in this community. While we often think it's spotting, we also know that there are people lighting fires deliberately," he said. "A lot of these fires actually went over expectations. "This was one of them. It actually exceeded expectations and went towards the coast." Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered army troops to help firefighters control 26 fires that have weaked deadly havoc around the state, Premier John Brumby said. "The army will become involved, I spoke to the Prime Minister in the early hours of this morning when I was in Bendigo,'' Mr Brumby told reporters in Kilmore. "He's obviously triggered the disaster arrangements, so all of the cash payments are flowing through to families and they commence immediately."

Victoria Police latest: Where the fire victims are from Anyone concerned about family or friends in fire areas should call 1800 727 077 Have you survived the bushfires? Tell us about your escape below or contact 9292 2963. Send your photos to

Authorities have begun to assess the aftermath of what are almost certainly the worst blazes the state has ever seen, with fears the death toll could rise dramatically as fires continue to burn. The Herald Sun's John Ferguson viewed some of the devastation from a helicopter, describing Marysville as a "disaster zone" that looks as if a cyclone has ripped through it, with 90% of houses destroyed. He said the only signs of life in the town were two horses in the main street, where the bakery appeared to be the last building standing.

Fires previously confined to Kilmore, Kinglake and Murrindindi have now joined to form the what is being referred to as the Kinglake complex fires, with a fire front stretching more than 100km wide. The blaze now extends from Kilmore in the west to Marysville in the east and has so far burnt through 120,000ha, closing the Hume, Melba and Maroondah highways. DSE spokesman Stuart Ord said the Kinglake Complex blaze would burn for days.

"It's got a huge fire edge and it will not be contained for many many days," he said. "The problem is we are still trying to get into places. Some roads are blocked and it's very difficult to get in and get an accurate number of losses. "The fire is burning towards Eildon and stretches as far south as Yarra Glen. More than 500 firefighters, 33 tankers, one helicopter and two fixed wing aircraft are battling the blaze. The CFA has issued an urgent threat message for residents in Glenburn, urging them to prepare for thick smoke and ember attacks. They have also warned residents not to rely on firefighting resources being able to reach their properties.


<<<<<<<<<<<Part 2 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Special Edition: Bushfire Apocolypse - Hells Fury

SYdney s Landscape

February 09, 2009 12:45am Mark Buttler & Joane Metlikovec

Thousands of people are homeless and at least 84 confirmed dead in VIctoria's weekend inferno. The bushfires are Austyralia's worst natural disaster.

84 Dead: Tol To Soar / 750 Homes Destroyed / Arsonists Relight Fires

VIctoria lay under a shroud of smoke and grief last night, with thousands homeless and at least 84 people dead after the worst bushfires in the nation's history. Entire towns were wiped out in the weekend's fires, which the Prime Minister described as hell's fury unleashed. At least 750 homes have been destroyed, more than 330,000ha burnt out and some fires may take weeks to contain.The communities in Dederang, Taggerty and Glenburn in the state's north were still under threat last night, almost 36 hours after the first fires were fuelled by record heat and winds on Saturday. " Hell and all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the past 24 hours," Mr Rudd said during a visit to the fire-ravaged Yarra Valley. " Many good people no wlie dead. Many others lie injured. "This is an apalling tragedy for the nation. The nation grieves with Victoria tonight.

IN an address tl the state, Premier John Brumby said "out there it's been hell on earth". But he defiantly declared Victoria would put it's communities back together tonight." Authorities believe some o fthe blazes were deliberatly lit and police said arsonists could face murder charges and 25 years in prison. The toll already surpasses the 71 deaths in the Black Friday blaze of 1939 and the overall national death toll of 75 from Ash Wednesday in 1983. Twenty-two people remain in Melbourne's Alfred Hospital with dredful burns, 10 o fthem in crictical condition. Authorities will be searching the worst hit areas for days looking for bodies. The Kinglake region, about 80km north of melbourne has been the worst hit-550 homes ahve been razed and 55 deaths had been reported in the area as of last night as the 120,000ha inferno, known as the Kinglake Complex, gave locals little chance.

According to residents, much of the town of Kingslake, which suffered 10 deaths has been destroyed and nearby Marysville was wiped off the map as the fireball swept through on Saturday night and early yesterday. "It was a most horrible day. It's going to look like Hiroshima. I tell you, it's going to look like a nuclear bomb. There are animals dead all over the road, "Kingslake resident Dr Chris Harvey said. Six of the victims were in one car trying to outrun the inferno in Kinglake. Dr Harvey said the town was littered with burnt-out cars and he believed many contained bodies. Dr Harvey's daughters Victoria and Ali, in their 20's, told of a local man, Ross, who lost both his daughters and possibly a brother. " he apparently went to put his kids in the car, put them in, turned around to go grab something from the house, then his car was on fire with his kids in it and they burned," VIctoria said.

Almost the entire town of nearby Marysville in the picturesque Upper Yarra Valley was razed, with houses, shops, petrol stations and schools destroyed after the East Kilmore and Murrindindi Mill fires, merged to create the massive Kinglake Complex, which was last night still causing major headaches for firefighters. ten people were killed in Kinglake West and 12 in nearby St Andres. The heartbreaking Kinglake fatalities included four children found in one home. Rebecca Buchanan lost her son "Macca" Mackenzie, 15, her only daughter Neeve 9, and her brother Danny Clark, 37, in the Kinglake maelstrom. Ms Buchanan's mother Jenny Clark is seriously injured in hospital with burns to 30 per cent of her body after she tried desperately to save her grandchildren. Two young girls visiting from down the street also died as the group huddled inside Ms Clarke's home. Nine deaths were reported in Gippsland in the state's east as the 90,000ha CHurchill fire burned almost to the coast.

The Bunyip Ridge fire burned 24,5000ha and torched the township of Labertouche on Saturday Four people are confirmed dead at Callignee, one at Upper Callignee, three at Hazlewood and one at jeeralang in Gippsland, the areas hit hardest by the Churchill blaze. At Strathewen, grieving widow Mary Avola, who escaped 40m flames that claimed her husband, has described him as a"hero" to the end". Mrs Avola 67, said her husband, Peter, put her life ahead of his as he told her to drive away from the fireball. The couple tried to save their family home in Chads Creek Rd, but left as the house burst into flames. Firefighters said last night the threat to twonships from the Bunyip Ridge and Churchil fires had subsided.

Hell and all its Fury

SYdney s Landscape

February 09, 2009

Total Devestation: Where the fires are Burning

NSW Flashpoints

1. Peats Ridge, Gosford: About 300ha burned in Brisbane Water NP and on private property. 50 trucks, 9 aircraft and 200 firefighters on the scene.
2. Dry Creek, Muswellbrook: More than 140ha burned in Wybong, 27km south west of Scone. 50 firefighters supported by water bombing aircraft. No properties threatened. One car destroyed.
3. Ways, Singleton: Three separate fires merged to burn about 1000ha in Wollemi NP, 25km northwest of Putty, No properties threatened.
4. Jimgera Rock, Bega Valley: about 1300ha burned in South East Forest NP. More than 100 fire fighters helped by 11 water-dumping aircraft protecting properties in Towamba, Wyndham and Burragate.
5. Medow Creek, Tumut: About 30ha of bush burned in Minjary NP.
6. Happy Valley, Tumut: About 100ha of bush burned in Kosciusko NP, 1km southwest of Cabramurra.
7. Dingo Road, Shoalhaven: About 2100ha of bush burned in Budawang NP, about 30km northwest of Batemans Bay
8. Mill Creek, Tumut: About 330ha burned 14km south east of Tumut.

Danger Zones: Areas on Alert

Greater Hunter Valley: Cessnock, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Upper Hunter.
Greater Sydney: All Sydney suburbs plus Blue Mountains, Gosford, Hawkesbury and Wyong.
ACT: Canberra and surrounding suburbs.
Lower Central West Plains: Bland, Dubbo, Forbes, Lachlan, Narromine, Parkes, Temora, Weddin, Wellington.
Southern Slopes: Boorowa, Cootamundra, Gundagai, Harden, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Young.
Eastern Riverina: Albury, Coolamon, Greater Hume, Junee, Lockhart, Wagga Wagga.
Southern Riverina: Berrigan, Conargo, Cowowa, Deniliquin, Jerilderie, Murray, Urana, Wakool.
Northern Riverina: Carrathool, Griffith, Hay, Leeton, Murrumbidgee, Narrandera.

Perfect Storm

Winds in Victoria on Saturday were hot westerly winds. An abrupt change to fresh, gusty south to southerly westerly winds caused the fire to expand. A Country Fire Authority (CFA) spokesman said the wind made the fire change to a wider blaze, which spread more quickly through the region.

Victoria Flashpoints

1. Kinglake Complex: 12 Killed in Kinglake, six in one car, another 10 killed at Kinglake West (this will rise to 100+ in the coming days-tragic) 12 dead in St Andrews, seven people killed in Steels Creek, three killed in Arthurs Creek, Five killed in Humevale, one killed in Strathewan, five dead in Flowerdale, two people dead in Hazeldene, two people dead in Marysville (this too will rise dramatically of the coming days), one victim died in Yea hospital. Up to 100 houses lost.
2. Churchill: Three killed in Hazelwood, four killed in Callignee, three dead in Taggerty, one killed in Upper Callignee, one killed in Jeeralang and over 90,000ha burnt out. House losses in Devon North and Taralgon.
3: Bendigo: One killed in Bendigo and one in Long Gully, 40 houses lost and about 100 houses under threat from fire which burnt about 1200ha.
4: Whittlesea: Three people died.
5. Horsham: At least three houses, the Horsham GOlf Club, several sheds and fire truck destroyed. Fires burnt out more than 5700ha.
6: Bunyip Ridge: Broke containment lines forcing firefighters to retreat, residents evacuated from nursing home and homes lost in Labertouche. Burnt about 24,000ha.
7: Dargo: About 650ha in East Gippsland burnt out with communities of Bullumwall, Mount Taylor, CLifton and Sarsfield on alert.
8: Redesdale: Grass fire 9km west of redesdale grown to over 10,000ha. More than 235 fire fighters, 43 tankers and three bulldozers call in to fight fire.
9: Yarra Glen: One killed, 30ha of fire threatening vineyards.
10: Wandong: Four killed, grass and scrub fire burning 1km south of wandong covers 1000ha.
11: Mudgeegonga: Two people dead.

Hospitals an Echo of Bali traumas

SYdney s Landscape

February 09, 2009 By Grant McArthur - Daily Telegraph

One after another, a horrifying procession of helicopters brought the most seriously burned patients to the Alfred hospital in scenes only comparable with the 2002 Bali bombings. The sheer number and seriousness of their injuries was so overwhelming VIctoria's biggest trauma hospital exhausted its supply of morphine and had to call for emergency supplies to treat the 20 most seriously injured bushfire victims. Patients started arriving at 9pm on Saturday and by noon yesterday 10 patients were on life support in an intensive care unit filled to capacity for the first time since it opened last year.

Emergency doctors at the state's top burns unit could only compare the carnage in front of them with the Bali bombing victims they treated six years earlier, leaving anyone fortunate enough to have less than 30 per cent of their body burned to be treated at other hospitals. Across Victoria 78 patients were admitted to hospitals with fire-related injuries, while many hundreds more were treated at emergency departments for less serious problems.

At Royal children's hospital a two-year-old was fighting for life in intensive care, while a 12-year-old was also recovering from burns. The most critical two patients from the Austin Hospital were transferred to The Alfred Hospital yesterday afternoon but, another 24 were receiving treatment for smoke inhalation, second-degree burns and car crashes as they tried to flee the flames. "In hospitals all over Melbourne there will be patients with burns we would normally accept but tonight we will hold them back because there is not an acute need in the next 24 hours to accept them," Alfred trauma specialist John Coleridge. "With the bali bombings it was a similar approach-everybody called in, large numbers of burn and blast victims.

TV news anchorman Brian Naylor dies in fires

Brian Naylor Died in Fires
Famous victim ... TV news presenter Brian
was one the tens of victims of the firestorm

February 09, 2009 12:00am
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

Brian Naylor and wife

Brian Naylor confirmed dead Former Channel 9 newsreader Brian Naylor and his wife Moiree are among those to lose their live

NEWS presenter Brian Naylor, the Brian Henderson of Victorian television, has been confirmed as a bushfire fatality. The former Nine Network newsreader and his wife, Moiree, died when the Kinglake Complex fire razed their property on Saturday. Following a career as a TV and radio host, Naylor in 1970 became the chief newsreader at Channel 7 in Melbourne. He left Seven to host the Nine Network's top-rating Melbourne news service at Channel 9. He retired aged 68 to his property in November 1998.

Naylor finished each broadcast with the phrase: "May your news be good news and goodnight". Naylor's lawyer John Beckwith confirmed the tragedy yesterday. "The family of Brian and Moiree Naylor are mourning the loss of their father, mother and grandparents in the tragic fire at Kinglake West," he said. Naylor, 78, and his wife had lived at the property in Coombs Rd, Kinglake West, on the western edge of the Kinglake National Park, for many years. Their son Matthew, 41, was killed in an ultralight plane crash near the farm in May last year. Sky News journalist and former colleague at Channel 9, John Gatfield, said the news would devastate many Victorians. "Brian Naylor is somebody that everybody in Victoria will relate to,'' Gatfield said last night.

Marrysville numbed by the horrors of Bushfire

DAN Walsh sits on the porch of a cream-brick house -
perhaps one of just a dozen buildings the inferno spared at
Marysville, about 70km northeast of Melbourne.

Article from: The Daily Telegraph
February 09, 2009 12:00am

Disbelief ... Michael Walsh and his father Dan.

The 74-year-old looks to be one of the lucky ones, but his handshake is weak and his eyes are haunted. A car pulls up and he excuses himself. "Got to talk to my son." "Mum's dead," he tells his boy Michael, as bluntly as that. The young man drops to his knees by the roadside and sobs. Mr Walsh left his 73-year-old wife Marie at the plush Cumberland spa in the town's main street. They had gone there to sit out the worst, and by early evening the fire around there seemed over. "I said: 'It's gone now but in case of fire, out the door and down to the swimming pool area','' Mr Walsh says. "I said I'd go back and see if I could save the house.'' Wisps of smoke still rise around the yard and he walks in a daze putting them out.

"She must have gone further inside thinking it was safer,'' he says, trying to make sense where there is none. "I'm just too shell-shocked to think. I'm just buggered.'' Five minutes stroll away two locals gently lift the corner of a grey army blanket beside Falls Rd. It is a young girl, they think. They look again. Marysville is a close-knit town. Everyone knows everyone, but they can't tell who it is they have found. They only know that it seems to be a young girl. Last night the official toll in Marysville stood at seven dead but locals expected it to go far higher as destroyed homes were searched. The Cumberland is a block away in the heart of what little is left of Marysville's elm-lined tourist strip. Emergency vehicles drive past, but there is no sense of urgency, or real point to it.

"A few more in there,'' a CFA volunteer says, gesturing at the Cumberland. "There's three in a car around the corner. One in a car down there.'' One woman looks around in shock and disbelief. Marysville was one of the prettiest little towns in the state. Now it is just chimneys, smoke, twisted corrugated iron and car bodies.
Marysville has died, and that is not remotely the worst of it. She says the word around is that two mums perished, each dying with two of their children. Several others died in the Cumberland. A couple is missing. The girl under the grey blanket, she heard, is actually a heavily-pregnant woman. Listen: Witness reports from the fire

Victorian bushfire death toll continues to Rise

Fire Fighter and Huge Wall of Fire

Article from: The Daily Telegraph
February 09, 2009 06:40am

SKy News Photo of girl near home

Part 2

More than 20 people have been admitted to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital with burns and three are in a critical condition. Seven of the injured have burns to more than 30 per cent of their bodies.Premier John Brumby has described the disaster as "the worst day in our history". He called the bushfires "a monster that couldn't be controlled". The CFA said the communities of Kinglake, Kinglake West, Toolangi, Glenburn, Strathewen, Chum Creek, Dixons Creek, Castella, Pheasant Creek, Doreen, Yan Yean, Woodstock, Mernda, Mittons Bridge, Hurstbridge, St Andrews, Panton Hill, Arthurs Creek, Smiths Gully, Christmas Hills, Healesville, Yarra Glen, Coldstream, Tarrawarra, Steels Creek, had been and still may be directly impacted upon by the fire.

Part 1

AT least 108 people are now confirmed dead in the bushfires ripping through Victoria in a disaster which has eclipsed the state's Ash Wednesday devastation of two decades ago.Authorities are continuing a grim search for more bodies as horrific eyewitness accounts emerge from devastated communities. It was estimated more than 800 homes had been lost - 550 of them in the Kinglake area. Victoria Police had last night confirmed 84 deaths, but the toll kept soaring into the day - and could rise much higher as authorities move further into the affected towns.

VIDEO: It's like a Holocaust

A local policeman in the Victorian Kinglake region has described the "madness" as fires blazed overnight.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced emergency relief funding for the state, saying "Hell in all its fury had visited ... many good people lie dead". Whole towns have been destroyed and thousands of people left homeless with record temperatures and fierce winds sparking devastating infernos. The town of Marysville was reported to have been wiped out, but the Country Fire Authority (CFA) said many residents had made it to emergency shelter in a local park. More destruction and power blackouts are possible, with up to a dozen fires still burning out of control. And it has been reported that arsonists are suspected of relighting some fires after fire crews had brought them under control. The worst bushfire to strike Victoria was the 1983 Ash Wednesday disaster when 47 people were killed in the state. Most of the bodies were discovered in towns northeast of Melbourne - eight at Kinglake, six at Kinglake West, five each at St Andrews and Flowerdale, four each at Callignee and Wandong, three each at Humevalem, Taggerty and Hazelwood, two at Hazeldene and one each in Arthurs Creek, Strathewan, Upper Callignee, Jeealang, Long Gully, Yea and Bendigo.

At least six bodies were found in the one car at Kinglake, with reports that others may have been trying to escape the fire in cars. Police have not yet given the gender or ages of the victims, but one Kinglake resident said three members of the same family, believed to include a 14-year-old girl, a nine-year-old boy and an uncle, had died in the same house. "It rained fire," another Kinglake resident told Sky News. Strathewen resident Mary Avola said her husband of 43 years, Peter Avola, was among those killed. "He was behind me for a while and we tried to reach the oval but the gates were locked," she told Melbourne's Herald Sun. "He just told me to go and that's the last time I saw him." Firefighter Richard Hoyle described the scene as "a holocaust".

"The road is riddled with burnt-out cars involved in multiple collisions and debris," he said. Raylene Kincaide, of Narbethong, said her home had been destroyed and there was little left of the town. "Everyone we know has lost everything they had," she said on ABC radio. Anyone concerned about family or friends in fire areas should call the CFA on 1800 727 077.

<<<<<< Part 2 Read the rest of the story to the left<<<


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