Australian community destroyed by bushfire

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Bushfires in Western Australia have killed four, and police say more fatalities could be recorded. Reuters/Noah Berger

Several homes in the Australian community of Uarbry were destroyed by 80 out-of-control bushfires across New South Wales. Nine out of twelve homes in the community had been reportedly burned down.

The bushfire in Uarbry, called Sir Ivan, is being fanned by strong winds as temperatures reached 47C (116F) in several areas. Many fires in the state were still out of control.

Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said most buildings in Uarbry had either been destroyed or damaged. The bushfire was described as so "extraordinarily destructive” as it could create its own thunderstorm with lightning.

A local resident told Star Radio that nine of the 12 homes in the community were affected. Thirty houses have been destroyed across the state and several rural areas have been evacuated.

Fitzsimmons said they are aware that there is going to be homes lost. "There is machinery that has been destroyed and we are talking about livestock that has been destroyed as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have recognised more than 2,000 firefighters for helping in extinguishing the fire. Many of them are volunteers.

Turnbull believes that the outcome of bushfires in the New South Wales could have been much worse if not for the Australian firefighters. "We have had in New South Wales the worst fire conditions on record and yet, the fires have been contained," he said.

“Some volunteers fighting to save other people’s properties actually lost their own,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters. Two firefighters reportedly lost their own homes while trying to help others.

Fire and Rescue Inspector Rod Chetwynd and his team have been saving as many homes as they can. “The crews worked very hard to save what we did but we couldn’t get to everything,” he wrote on Facebook.

Firelighters also visited homes in affected areas to urge residents to evacuate. The NSW Rural Fire Service has been sending telephone messages to alert people of emergency warnings.

Earlier, a statewide fire ban has been declared for New South Wales, mostly in the state’s central west, across the tablelands to the Hunter Region and out to the coast. The Bureau of Meteorology has previously forecasted that there will be severe to catastrophic fire conditions in central and northern districts.

So far, there are no reports of lives lost due to the bushfire. In 2009, bushfires claimed the lives of 173 people which also destroyed more than 2,000 homes the state of Victoria.