Wildfires rage on down under

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wildfires are common during the Australian summer, but the combination of soaring temperatures and dry, windy conditions since Friday have sparked fires that burned 50,000 acres of forests and farmland across southern Tasmania. No deaths have been reported, although officials in Tasmania were still trying to find about 100 people who have been missing since last week when a fire tore through the small town of Dunalley, east of the state capital of Hobart, destroying around 90 homes.

Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard has underscored the dangers facing Australia this summer from climate change as she saw Tasmanian bushfire ruins, and warned people to expect more. Gillard said extreme bushfires were part of life in a hot and dry country.