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article imageAustralian Wildfires Kill 25

By Bob Ewing     Feb 7, 2009 in Environment
At least 25 and maybe as many as 40 people have been killed by wildfires that are sweeping across southeastern Australia.
Australian officials have confirmed that at least 25 people have died as a result of wildfires that are sweeping across southeastern Australia.
It is possible that the death toll is higher and closer to 40 people may have perished in fires fanned by high temperatures and strong winds in three states.
Police said more bodies could still be inside some of the hundreds of destroyed homes.
Six people who Adied in a single vehicle in the town of Kinglake in Victoria state are among the victims..
"The whole township is pretty much on fire," Peter Mitchell, a resident of Kinglake, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "There was no time to do anything ... it came through in minutes."
Over 30,000 firefighters were struggling Saturday night to make headway against the largest of about a dozen fires in Victoria.
"The fires are just too hot to approach on foot, and choppers can't find their targets because of smoke," said freelance reporter Tim Stackpool, who has been following the story in Sydney.
Weather forecasters said temperatures have been as high as 47 C, but are expected to drop to a low of 27 C by Sunday.
"Tomorrow should be last gasp of the heat wave, which has typically seen temperatures in the high 40s. It should cool down the rest of the week," Stackpool told CBC News.
A cool front moved through the hard-hit Gippsland region and along with it came wind changes that pushed the fires in new and unpredictable directions.
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