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Bush fires destroy homes

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SYDNEY, Australia — Bushfires flared out of control in Australia on Christmas Day, destroying homes, forcing evacuations in outlying townships and closing roads and rail lines.

An estimated 5,000 firefighters struggled to contain the fires, which did not cause death or serious injury but destroyed 150 homes and forced the evacuation of about 5,000 people.

Two member families, with a total of 19 people, lost their homes in the blaze. Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy and president of the Australia/New Zealand Area said the families are being housed in community shelters. They are being helped, he added, by local members and welfare resources.

No Church property was damaged during the disaster.