Australian wildfires turn deadly, killing several people and destroying dozens of homes


- At least two people have died and 100 homes have been destroyed as an unprecedented number of bushfires tore through eastern Australia.

"I was the last one to speak to her. We now have 31 out of 37 districts in Western Australia in the high fire rating, and three of those will go to catastrophic in the days ahead". The local man's name has not been released.

Satellite photographs showed smoke from the fires billowing hundreds of miles across the Pacific Ocean toward New Caledonia.

Thousands of people are now being housed across evacuation centres across the states, mostly in leisure centres, libraries and in one case, a basketball court.

Emergency services are so concerned that conditions are going to deteriorate over the next two days that they have warned people that they can not rely on help and should consider evacuating in advance.

More than 150 homes have been destroyed, and a school in Glen Innes, NSW, has been severely damaged.

The inferno is now raging in the town of Glen Innes in New South Wales, roughly 340 miles north of Sydney.

This comes as firefighters finally contain the Kincade Fire in the USA state of California and as today marks the first anniversary of the deadly Camp Fire, also in California. For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.

Warmer weather brought by climate change threatens to worsen conditions for koalas, as deforestation has narrowed habitable areas, said James Tremain of the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales.

"We're not out of this yet", Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters at a rural evacuation center for fire victims on Sunday.

The Insurance Council of Australia declared the wildfire crisis a "catastrophe", meaning insurance claims will be given priority.

In the New South Wales town of Taree, more than 300 people evacuated overnight to a social club, including Club Taree's chief executive Morgan Stewart.

'These are really extraordinary circumstances, particularly at this time of the year, at the beginning of the season or before the normal bushfire season, ' Mr Albanese said.

Peter Lean spent the night on the roof of his house in the town of Wallabi Point, using a garden hose to extinguish burning embers carried by strong winds. A fire in Cataby, north of Perth is now at emergency level, while another emergency level fire is raging in Cooroibah north of Noosa.

Officials warned that extreme weather conditions could fuel more fires in the week, including near Sydney.

"I abhor the comments made by the Greens Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt, who should be ashamed of himself for coming out and saying in any way, shape or form the Prime Minister or the government should be responsible in some way for the lives lost", the Nationals Leader said.

Between two and five fires were burning at the highest danger rating Saturday.

The blazes come during Australia's annual bushfire season and has been exacerbated by drought which has ravaged large swaths of the country.