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Australian wildfires kill 1, destroy homes

- The Washington Times - Friday, October 18, 2013

Almost 100 separate wildfires have torn through one of Australia's most populated areas on Friday, leaving one dead and laying waste to dozens of houses and structures.

Hundreds have evacuated, authorities told CBS.

Rural Fire Service spokeswoman Natalie Sanders said the fire season started early this year, due to unusually dry conditions. New South Wales has been hardest hit, with almost 100 separate fires raging across 330 square miles. Of those fires, 28 are considered out of control, she said in the CBS report.

Meanwhile, roads and schools have been closed down and police were on scene, helping homeowners evacuate and keeping an eye out for trapped residents. Officials still don't have an accurate count on the number of homes that have been destroyed.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott estimated hundreds, but Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said it's impossible to know at this point.

"I know some information that's been passed to me that just in one street, there were 40 homes lost," he said, CBS reported.

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