Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

In pictures: Australian fire damage

A bush fire burns in Victoria, Australia.

Fires are continuing to burn in the Australian state of Victoria, as residents grieve for friends and relatives who were killed in fast-moving flames.

Residents of Kinglake gather at a community meeting after the fire.

Residents of Kinglake, one of the worst-hit towns, gathered to console each other and determine who was still missing after fires devastated the region over several days.

Police stand amid debris in Kinglake, Victoria, Australia.

There are suspicions that some of the fires were deliberately lit, leading police to secure the towns as potential crime scenes.

Firefighters hose a burnt shed at the Yarra Glen railway station, Victoria

About 170 people have died and hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the fires.

Grieving family in Healsville, north-east of Melbourne.

Officials have warned Australians to prepare for more bad news, saying the death toll is likely to rise further as rescuers search the remains burned houses.

A man surveys the damage in his backyard after a bushfire in Bendigo, Victoria

Many families have been left counting the cost of the disaster, with some admitting they felt lucky just to be alive.

A tree plantation north of Melbourne, 08/02

Aerial images from north of Melbourne show how vast tracts of forest were swallowed up by the flames.

Flames in  Peats Ridge, north of Sydney, 08/02

Meanwhile, in neighbouring New South Wales emergency crews were also out in force tackling major blazes - although there have been no reports of deaths.

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