Forest Fires Hit Victoria, Australia
The state of Victoria in southern Australia has recently been hit with hundreds of bush fires during a record-breaking heatwave - temperatures well above 38°C (100°F). Unfortunately, these fires have proved to be the deadliest in Australian history, with at least 166 deaths reported so far. The fires mostly appear to have been started by lightning - however a few appear to have been arson, and are under investigation - entire towns being declared crime scenes. Twenty-four fires are still burning, and authorities warn that the death toll will likely rise.
A fire truck moves away from out of control flames from a bushfire in the Bunyip Sate Forest near the township of Tonimbuk, 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of Melbourne, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. Walls of flame roared across southeastern Australia, razing scores of homes, forests and farmland in the sunburned country's worst wildfire disaster in a quarter century. (AP Photo)
Flames and smoke rise from a bushfire in the Bunyip Sate Forest west of Melbourne, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. (AP Photo)
A Country Fire Authority (CFA) Sector Commander looks up at a giant fire raging in the Bunyip State Park near Labertouche, Australia, on February 7, 2009. More than 40 blazes raged across two states as a once-in-a-century heatwave pushed the mercury as high as 46 degrees Celsius (115 Fahrenheit) with fire bans in place across much of the south-east.
A general view of the devastation from the Peats Ridge Valley bushfire on February 9, 2009 in Peats Ridge, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
A firefighter tries to contain a bushfire approaching the town of Peats Ridge, north of Sydney, on February 8, 2009.
Small acreage is burned out in Kinglake, northeast of Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A rural firefighter backburns vegetation off Euloo road in the Peats Ridge Valley on February 9, 2009 in Peats Ridge, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)