WORLD – Christmas fire leaves over 100 homeless
A Christmas Day bushfire has destroyed more than 100 homes in Australia’s Victoria state, officials say.
Officials said 98 homes had been razed in Wye River and 18 at Separation Creek. No injuries are reported.
Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the blaze along the famous Great Ocean Road in Victoria’s south-west, popular with holidaymakers.
A change to cooler weather and rain has greatly reduced the threat, but some emergency warnings remain in place.
Some 1,600 residents and tourists from the popular tourist spot of Lorne were evacuated on Friday amid fears that a wind change would push the fire towards the town, but were allowed to return on Saturday.
Many of those forced to leave their homes had to spend Christmas night in hastily-arranged shelters.
More than 500 firefighters, 60 tankers and 18 aircraft have been involved in fighting the flames.
Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said they were “working around the clock to bring this fire under control”.
He warned that although the immediate threat had eased, the fire had the “potential to burn” for weeks to come.