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Wildfires in Australia kill at least 128

According to U.S. media outlets, Australian authorities believe at least some of the more than 700 wildfires that have killed 128 people so far were set by arsonists.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that firefighters continue to battle the country’s worst-ever wildfire, which has spread throughout the southern region of Australia near Melbourne.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has established a $6.75 million relief fund for victims of the fires. Rudd believes the number of casualties will increase over the next several days.

“I fear in the days ahead, though, the news is going to be bad, and I believe the nation needs to prepare itself as the full facts become known,? Rudd said.

Authorities believe many of the 128 victims died while protecting their homes or attempting to flee the area at the last minute.

“You need to decide early, one way or another, what you're doing, you don't leave it until the last minute," a spokeswoman from the Country Fire Authority said to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.