Australia bushfires: Tasmania search for 100 'missing'

Aerial image of Boomer Bay area after wildfires in Tasmania Many homes have been destroyed by the fires

Related Stories

Australian police are searching fire-ravaged towns in southern Tasmania looking for 100 unaccounted people.

Tasmania's police commissioner said he feared lives may have been lost in the wildfires which swept through parts of the island in recent days.

Almost 3,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, many stranded in emergency shelters.

On Friday, Tasmania experienced its peak temperature since records began with levels hitting 41.8C.

The national weather bureau has warned extremely hot conditions are expected across much of the country next week.

Acting Tasmania Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said about 100 remained unaccounted for.

"That's not to say that those people necessarily have come to any harm, but obviously we can't totally eliminate that until we've had confirmed contact with those individuals," Mr Tilyard said.

He said the crews, whose numbers have been swelled by relief teams from mainland Australia, were expecting to find "one or more" people who had perished in the fires.

Map

More than 40 fires are still burning. On Sunday, firefighters issued an emergency warning for residents of Taranna, 29 miles (47km) east of the state capital, Hobart, where a fire has been burning for more than three days.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is due to tour Dunalley on Monday, where more than 65 homes, the police station and a school have been destroyed in the small town, 56km east of Hobart.

The BBC's Nick Bryant, in Sydney, says large swathes of south-east Australia are suffering from the worst fire conditions since the Black Saturday disaster almost four years ago, when 173 people in rural Victoria lost their lives.

He says there has been a combination of a record-breaking heatwave, high winds and drought, with Tasmania by far the worst hit.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • The smartphone that answers backClick Watch

    Smartphones get smarter – the prototypes that talk and say ouch when you drop them

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.