SYDNEY (AP) — Walls of flame roared across southeastern Australia, razing scores of homes, forests and farmland in the sunburned country's worst wildfire disaster in a quarter century. At least 25 people died and the toll could rise to more than 40, police said Sunday.
Witnesses described seeing trees exploding and skies raining ash as temperatures hit a record 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 C) on Saturday and combined with raging winds to create perfect conditions for uncontrollable blazes. A long-running drought in southern Australia — the worst in a century — has left forests extra dry.
Conditions eased Sunday, but several major fires were still posing a threat, officials said.