Australia bushfire wipes out homes and cattle

Forensic police inspect the damage left by the bushfire

Forensic police inspect the damage left by the bushfire

Some of Tathra's evacuated residents are hopeful that they will be allowed to return to their homes on Monday, as emergency workers struggle to restore damaged power supply lines to the devastated region, Fitzsimmons said.

"All I could hear while we drove off was glass breaking and gas bottles exploding", he said, shaking his head.

Almost 100 properties - houses, caravans and cabins - were incinerated by the blaze which was fanned by dry winds and high temperatures.

Smoke rises from bushfires near the village of Tathra, New South Wales.

THE man who coordinated Lismore's post flood recovery a year ago has been appointed to manage the support of the Tathra communities hit by devastating bushfires this week.

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Power and other utilities, including sewage and water supplies, needed to be restored and communications brought back online. Information about specific homes which have been impacted is being provided to residents through the evacuation centre at Bega. A further 39 houses were damaged, with nearly 400 saved.

Earlier on Monday she thanked firefighters for their efforts.

Cooler weather overnight and today is set to help firefighters gain control of the blaze, which has so far burnt through more than 1200ha of bush.

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the fire a "catastrophe", meaning claims by those affected by the blaze will be given priority.

The blazes in the Gazette, Garvoc and Camperdown areas began late Saturday night, with CFA crews spending Monday dampening hot spots.

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"As an urban structure firefighting vehicle, the pumper is not suitable for firefighting areas off established roads and does not have the correct safety equipment to be working in a remote bushland area", an RFS spokesman said in a statement. After the fire ran east for 5 miles (8 km) from the Bega area to the coast, jumping the Bega River, the wind shifted to come out of the south, slowing the spread.

No lives have been lost.

"I want these communities to know that the government will stand with them".

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley says up to 18 homes had been destroyed by several fires in neighbouring Victoria state.

A firefighter extinguishes the charred embers of a home destroyed in the bushfire.

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