Scores Missing and Over 100 Buildings Lost
FOUR OUT-OF-CONTROL BUSH FIRES in the Australian state of Tasmania have driven thousands of people from their homes and caused 2,500 to flee to the island's beaches where they were removed by a makeshift flotilla of ferry boats, police boats and private craft. Another 400 were being evacuated at the most recent report from Sky News.
Sydney Morning Herald / Kidd
Due to its island status, getting help from outside the small state was stymied for a while until additional fire crews and their trucks from Victoria could be assembled at ferry terminals and transported to ports in Tasmania.
TEN News filed this video report from the evacuation zone:
Hundreds more have sought refuge with relatives and in evacuation centres across the region, including at the Port Arthur historic site. The threat posed to communities by the Forcett bushfire was downgraded to watch and act, but the blaze continues to burn out of control, and has already done massive damage throughout the peninsula.
The town of Dunalley was the worst hit, with around 65 homes and the town's school destroyed, while dozens more buildings were razed at Connellys Marsh, Eaglehawk Neck, Murdunna, Copping and Primrose Sands.
There have been no confirmed deaths from the fires, but police and defence force personnel will on Sunday begin searching burnt homes and vehicles for bodies.
It has also been reported that at least 100 people are still unaccounted for, but no bodies have been discovered yet.
This more recent video report from NewsWorld has some impressive fire footage:
Russia Today has more raw video:
The firefighting is made more difficut due to the brutal heat wave sweeping Australia with temperatures of 41 C. (106 F.) pre-heating the fuel and battering the firefighters.
The Herald Sun has a good, well-illustrated updated report HERE with more videos.
Sydney Morning Herald / Southwell
* * * * * * *