Wildfires razing Australia's drought-stricken east coast have left three people dead, several missing, and dozens injured, with over 150 homes destroyed, officials said Saturday. Around 1,500 firefighters were battling more than 70 fires across Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, with the most intense in the northeast, where flames were fanned by strong winds, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said, per the AP. A woman who was found unconscious and with serious burns Friday near Glen Innes died in a hospital, he said. Firefighters found another body on Saturday morning in a burned car near Glen Innes, a victim of the same fire, officials said. A third body was found Saturday afternoon in a burned house at the village of Johns River, police said, adding that an autopsy will determine whether the victim is the 63-year-old woman who owns the house.
Another five people remained missing in the vicinity of the Glen Innes fire and authorities held grave fears for their safety, Fitzsimmons said. More than 30 people, including firefighters, received medical treatment for burns and smoke inhalation. One patient suffered cardiac arrest, officials said. At least 150 homes had been destroyed since Friday, and damage assessment teams had yet to reach some devastated areas, officials said. In Queensland, around 50 wildfires were raging on Saturday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned Australia to expect more bad news from the fire zones. "The devastating and horrific fires that we have seen, particularly in New South Wales but also in Queensland, have been absolutely chilling," Morrison said. The annual Australian fire season, which peaks during the Southern Hemisphere's summer, has started early after an unusually warm and dry winter.
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