Victoria state police have launched a huge murder hunt as the death toll from Australia’s devastating bushfires looks set to top 200.
The authorities are treating the fires that swept through the state on Saturday as “suspicious.” Police say no natural events such as lightning could have sparked the blaze. Around 25 fires are still raging in Victoria with a number of towns on high alert as strong winds are adding to the risk. “There is no excuse for this. Not at all. This, as I said yesterday, is simply murder on a grand scale,” said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The disaster area, twice the size of London, has been declared a crime zone as police sift through the charred remains looking for bodies. Tales of horror, fear, courage and luck are beginning to emerge as shocked townsfolk attempt to rebuild their lives. Police say that anyone found guilty of causing the fires could face manslaughter or murder charges.