Widfire Deaths near 200

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

HEALESVILLE, Australia (AP) - The leader of the Australian state
devastated by wildfires says the death toll will exceed 200.
The confirmed death toll stood at 181 Tuesday evening, but Victoria state Premier John Brumby said the coroner has identified
another 50 bodies that have not been counted in the official death
toll.
Brumby told reporters that the toll would "exceed 200 deaths."
The wildfires that swept southern Victoria state Saturday
destroyed more than 750 homes and were the worst in the country's
history.

UPDATED:
HEALESVILLE, Australia (AP) - With the death toll expected to
exceed 200, authorities in Australia say they'll rethink policies
that allow residents to make their own evacuation decisions during
wildfires.
Victoria state Premier John Brumby says the coroner has
identified another 50 bodies that had not been counted in the
official death toll of 181.
Some experts suggest the large number of deaths could be partly due to the makeup of the population, which now includes many people who have no experience with wildfires.
Victorian state Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron tells Australian Broadcasting Corp. television that
mandatory evacuations mean more traffic accidents.
Teams moving into towns burned out by the inferno found charred bodies on roadsides and in crashed cars.
Fire officials say the blazes have destroyed more than 750
homes, left 5,000 people homeless, and burned 1,100 square miles.
Millions of dollars in donations for the fire victims has poured in.
Officials say the fires spread rapidly because of drought
conditions, high temperatures and 60 mile-per-hour winds. But
officials also suspect that some of the fires may have been started
deliberately.
Officials say panic and the freight-train speed of the walls of flames probably accounted for the unusually high death toll.


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