Power lines blamed for 2 of Australia's dozens of fires
October 19, 2013 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
- NEW: "I've got to start again," says a 54-year-old woman
- Australian firefighters are still battling the fires
- At least one person has died
- Springwood and Winmalee area of the Blue Mountains are among the hardest hit
(CNN) -- Two of the dozens of bush fires burning out of control in the eastern Australian state of New South Wales were sparked by power lines that had been buffeted by strong winds, fire officials said Saturday, citing preliminary investigations.
In the Springwood fire, 193 homes have been destroyed and another 109 damaged. In the Mt. Victoria fire, seven homes have been destroyed and one damaged, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said in a statement.
Fire investigators were still looking into the cause of the other fires.
Earlier, authorities said they were trying to determine whether one of the fires was caused by a military training exercise.
A huge blaze near Lithgow, New South Wales, started on October 16, when officials "were conducting an explosive ordnance training activity," the Australian Department of Defense said.
Investigators were trying to determine whether the two events are linked, the statement said.
Authorities said this week that some 95 fires were burning and that 34 of them were out of control.
The Springwood and Winmalee areas of the Blue Mountains were among the hardest hit, the fire service said. It suggested residents seek shelter and protect themselves from the heat. Emergency alert telephone warning messages were being sent to people in the area, the fire service said.
The fires have caused numerous road closures in the state, the fire service said, adding that a damage assessment was underway.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service crew members fight a fire near Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains of Australia on Thursday, October 24. Wildfires threatened the western suburbs of Sydney on Wednesday as high winds and temperatures created at least a dozen new fires that were blazing across a 1,000-mile stretch of New South Wales.
Photos: Australian bush fires
Australian fire's smoke blocks out sun
Australia bush fires scorch homes
Bushfires raging in Australia
At least one fatality has been reported. Walter Lindner, 63, died of a suspected heart attack on Friday while defending his home against a blaze on the New South Wales Central Coast, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Lindner collapsed while working alongside his neighbor to save his heritage-listed homestead, according to ABC. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The toll has been emotional for many. "I said to my husband, I remembered when he carried me across the threshold," a 54-year-old woman whose house was a total loss told Reuters. "I've got to start again, but we will ... as a family, together."
The Blue Mountains area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site west of Sydney. Fires sent plumes of smoke into the air.
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell warned Thursday that hundreds of homes could be destroyed.
Footage broadcast earlier by CNN affiliate Seven Network showed flames consuming homes.
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0916 GMT (1716 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories