Official: Dozens Missing Following Wildfire In Australia's Tasman Peninsula

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Australian authorities were searching Sunday for a number of people reported missing in wildfires that destroyed more than 100 homes in southeast Tasmania, officials said.

wildfire

Australian authorities were searching Sunday for a number of people reported missing in wildfires that destroyed more than 100 homes in southeast Tasmania, officials said.

Police and rescue workers were going door-to-door in the southern Tasmanian towns of Dunalley and Boomer Bay to try to account for dozens missing after the fires hit the region on Friday, Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard told reporters in Hobart, according to CNN affiliate Network 10.

While there have been no casualties reported, Tilyard said he was "fearful that someone may have died in this fire."

"It is a very distinct possibility still, and I think people need to brace themselves that that may be the case," Tilyard told reporters in Tasmania's capital of Hobart.

The news came as the Tasmania Fire Service warned a wildfire was advancing on Taranna, a small town known for the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park.

"It is likely to be too late to leave the area. If you home is well constructed, prepared and actively defended, it may provide shelter," the fire service said in a emergency warning message issued Sunday night.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated by sea and air from the Tasman Peninsula because the fires have blocked roads in and out of the rural communities, officials said.

About 65 homes were destroyed as well as an elementary school when the fire marched through Dunalley on Friday, authorities said.

Dozens more homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged in neighboring communities, including the hamlet of Boomer Bay, they said.

Aerial photographs taken by CNN affiliate Nine News showed the fire's fury as it hop-scotched homes in Dunalley and Boomer Bay, burning two homes, leaving one standing and then burning another.

Tasmania's fire chief told reporters Sunday that firefighters hope to bring the blaze under control by Tuesday.

Part of the problem is the rugged nature of the Tasman Peninsula, where the fires have been burning since last week, Chief Fire Officer Mike Brown said.

"There is still some problems getting fire vehicles into the Tasman Peninsula to work more on protecting properties and protecting assets,'' he said.