Last Update 10:42
Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Christmas wildfire destroys 53 houses in Australia

AFP , Saturday 26 Dec 2015
Views: 961
Views: 961

An out-of-control bushfire which flared in a scenic area of southern Australia on Christmas Day has destroyed 53 houses, officials said Saturday.

The blaze prompted evacuations in two towns popular with holidaymakers, Wye River and Separation Creek, southwest of Melbourne, on Friday.

"I can confirm that 35 houses are gone in Wye River, 18 are gone in Separation Creek," Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said, adding that the fire stopped just 500 metres short of another town.

Andrews said the consolation was that no lives were lost in the state which endured horrific bushfires in 2009, in which 173 people perished.

"We can rebuild houses, of course. Things can be much worse than that," Andrews told a press conference.

Hundreds of firefighters battling the blaze were helped by rainfall overnight, but winds are a cause for concern and some roads are closed.

The fire near the coastal town of Lorne was started by a lightning strike on December 19 but flared up Friday due to hot weather and winds pushing embers over fire control lines.

Emergency Management Victoria commissioner Craig Lapsley praised the community for heeding the evacuation warning just before lunchtime on Christmas Day to avoid the possibility of fatalities.

"They walked away from the fire that had every potential to be a killer," he said at a joint press conference with Andrews.

Lapsley warned the fire, which is not particularly large at 2,200 hectares, had the potential to flare up again in the coming week.

"The fact we have had rain today across the state will not dramatically change anything," he said, saying very hot weather was predicted for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Holidaymakers who traditionally flock to the Victoria surf coast at this time of year have been asked to avoid the fire area.

Bush fires are a common feature of the Australian summer, with up to 15 homes destroyed by blaze near Melbourne on Monday.

But "Black Saturday" was the worst firestorm in recent years, devastating southern Victoria in 2009, razing thousands of homes and killing 173 people.

Seven people have died so far this year from bushfires across the country.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.