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Raging Australia Bushfire Destroys 70 Homes and Sends Residents Fleeing

Laignee Barron

A fast-moving bushfire in southeastern Australia has engulfed an estimated 70 homes and buildings, with firefighters still working Monday to contain the blaze.

The fire has plowed through more than 2,400 acres in New South Wales, reaching Tathra, a small coastal town about six hours from Sydney, on Sunday, the BBC reports. The 1,600 residents were evacuated and four people were reportedly treated for smoke inhalation. Authorities have said one firefighter was injured.

Photos showed some locals fleeing the fire walking along the shoreline on Sunday, carrying their belongings to a neighboring town against a blazing orange backdrop.

“The smoke was thick and black. You could see the rescue helicopter with the water and you know it was all so real,” local resident Simone Ward told the BBC.

Separate bushfires raging in the neighboring state of Victoria have reportedly destroyed 18 properties, killed livestock and burned more than 98,000 acres. The blazes may have been sparked by lightning on Saturday, officials said.

According to local authorities, the ongoing bushfires are the worst seen this season.