Water bomber crashes in Australia, sparking another wildfire

The accident happened as more dry,
windy conditions caused a flare-up in
huge fires burning for a week in
mountains to the west of Sydney ,
closing roads and entering a valley
running down towards the
metropolitan area.
"It's hard to definitely say that [the
worst is over] at this stage," Rural Fire
Service spokeswoman Natalie Sanders
said. "We have got cooler temperatures
today and the winds are slightly lower
but with these fires still going, it's hard
to say how long they'll go for and
whether there will be any further
damage."
Emergency officials confirmed a 43-
year-old man died when his water
bomber fixed-wing aircraft crashed in
the Budawang National Park, 170 miles
southwest of Sydney, a wilderness area
popular with hikers and campers.
Rescue workers were unable to
retrieve the body, driven back by high
winds, smoke and the rugged terrain.
Saeed Khan / AFP - Getty Images
A firefighter prepares to battle a bu
near Faulconbridge, Australia, on
Thursday.
More than 200 homes have been
destroyed in New South Wales since
last Thursday, when fires tore through
Sydney's outskirts. A man died from a
heart attack as he tried to save his
home.
The fires have burned through tens of
thousands of acres and at one stage
had a combined perimeter of about
1,000 miles.
One of the largest blazes was started
by a live firing exercise on Army land,
the fire service said, prompting an
apology from the acting defense chief
on Thursday.
Police have arrested several children
suspected of starting some fires, while
others were sparked by lightning or
power lines arcing in strong winds,
according to the fire service.
The state government has declared an
emergency enabling it to order
evacuations, hoping to avoid a repeat
of the 2009 "Black Saturday" fires in
Victoria state that killed 173 people
and caused $4.4 billion worth of
damage. Insurance claims from the
latest fires have topped $100 million.