Australian Fire Kills 108
108 were killed in the deadliest wildfire in Australian histroy, the Pioneer Press reported. The 117 degrees fahrenheit fire in Marysville, a town in Victoria state, destroyed 700 homes and 90 percent of buildings, according to witnesses.
When the fire suddenly hit the Kinglake area, at least 18 deaths occurred. Witnesses said they saw trees explode.
Many people tried to flee in their cars but were killed, some by falling trees
"I looked outside the window and said: 'Whoa, we are out of here, this is going to be bad,"' Mandy Darkin, a restaurant worker said. "I could see it coming. I just remember the blackness and you could hear it, it sounded like a train." (Pioneer Press)
The air was blackened by ashes, and temperatures in the area dropped to about 77 degrees on Sunday. Officials said that although cooler conditions had eased considerably, they could push fires in unpredictable directions and pose a threat. Firefighters were battling about 30 fires Sunday.CNN reported that police said they were still trying to confirm details of the deaths and were still trying to get investigative teams into the fire-scarred zone.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced immediate emergency aid of 10 million Australian dollars and there were thousands of volunteers, the Pioneer Press reported. Government officials said the army would be deployed to help fight the fires and clean up the debris.
"It's an appalling tragedy for the nation." Rudd said.
CNN reported that the fires were visible from space Saturday, and NASA has released satellite photographs.