Bushfires have forced thousands of people to flee their homes in the southern island state of Tasmania.
The fires scorched a large swathe of land all the way to the waterline and some residents and tourists had to wade into the sea to escape the fire, which has either damaged or destroyed at least 100 homes, businesses and a school.The worst hit area is around the small town of Dunalley, east of the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, where 65 buildings including the town’s school, police station and bakery were destroyed, local media reported.
Officials had been investigating a report that one person died in the blaze on Friday, but on Saturday, police said there were no confirmed deaths or injuries from the fire.
The island state’s Fire Service has issued emergency warnings and officials said it will be a while before the fires are contained.
Some of the stranded tourists who spent the night in the historic Port Arthur, a former prison colony, were evacuated by ferry to Hobart.