WYE RIVER, Australia, A bushfire that tore through Wye River and Separation Creek, destroying 116 homes, has yet to be contained and is expected to continue burning for days — even weeks — officials said Saturday.
Officials told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the Christmas day fire ripped through coastal Victoria, taking down mostly vacation homes. The damage is estimated at $38 million, and is expected to rise.
The Great Ocean Road area has been declared a catastrophe area. The government will offer grants of $1,300 to those who have lost homes and are unable to return.
Sky News Australia reported the fire is expected to burn until January and possibly as long as February due to dry conditions.
Victorian Premier Michael Andrews has urged tourists to continue enjoying their vacations in the area, but to remain vigilant.
“The message to tourists, to visitors, is this is a beautiful part of our state. This is pristine coastline,” he said. “If you are aware of your circumstances […] then you can still visit those areas that are open.”
By Ann Marie Awad