Australia: Warning As Bushfire Destroys Homes

Around 150 firefighters have been battling a bushfire in South Australia, which has destroyed at least seven homes.

The large blaze at Tulka tore through about 5,000 acres of scrubland and residents were evacuated from their homes.

The fire burned within containment lines but was yet to be brought under control.

Fire service spokesman Malim Watts said despite a change in the wind, Tulka, seven miles south of Port Lincoln, still faced a serious fire threat.

"When this fire started it took off at incredible speed. Very dangerous conditions, catastrophic conditions in fact which basically means that for that community it's a day of survival," said Mr Watts.

It was unclear what sparked the fire but it quickly gathered force due to the hot weather.

A similar number of firefighters also battled a blaze at Humbug Scrub, north east of Adelaide, he added.

There was a lucky escape there for a koala, which was spotted by a driver and given water.

"He had a bit of a drink of water. Yeah, but he's but he's not looking too well really," the man said.

A number of other fires were also being tackled in the state.

Officials are warning of a long and difficult summer ahead for firefighters, as South Australia and most other states are anticipating hot and dry weather ahead.

"We've had a lot of rainfall, a lot of growth, a lot of vegetation and we're expecting a very busy fire season as a consequence of that," a fire official said.

Southeastern Australia was last devastated by bushfires in February 2009, when a horrific blaze swept through Victoria state, killing 173 people and destroying more than 2,000 homes.

It was Australia's worst natural disaster in modern times.