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Australia’s forest fire death toll rises to 12

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Australian authorities confirmed on Wednesday the death of a third person in the devastating forest fires that struck the southeast coast this week and a fourth lost, possibly as well, as the navy rushed to provide supplies and assist in evacuations.

So far, 12 people have been confirmed dead in fire-related accidents across the country since it flared up a few months ago, including three volunteer firefighters, after three years of drought.

The columns of fire, which were fueled by high temperatures, hit entire towns on Monday and Tuesday, prompting thousands of people to seek refuge on the beaches. Many stood in shallow waters to escape the flames.

The fires destroyed more than ten million acres and new fires erupt daily, due to hot and stormy weather.

The relatively low temperatures on Wednesday allowed the country the opportunity to count losses, although there are still more than 100 fires in New South Wales alone and thousands of firefighters continue to fight fires.

The body of a man was found in a burning car on Wednesday on the southern coast of the state after emergency workers began combing the worst-affected areas.

Police said the death toll would rise.

“Unfortunately, today we announce that the police have confirmed three more deaths as a result of the fires on the south coast,” Gary Warboys, deputy commissioner of the state police, told reporters in Sydney.

State police stated that the missing person was a 72-year-old man, whom the authorities were unable to reach.

Fires spread in several states and spread hundreds of kilometers in some areas.

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