CBNNews.com - Australia's raging brush fires have killed more than 165 people. But firefighters expect the death toll to climb over the next few days.
Investigators say some of the fires were deliberately set and Australia's prime minister is calling it mass murder.
From the air or from the ground, the images of the raging brush fires in Australia are frightening.
"Their kids are dead," one witness said. "I played golf with a 12-year-old kid on Saturday and he's not here anymore."
The stories of loss are more intense than the flames.
People have lost their homes. But more than 165 people lost their lives -- and the death toll is climbing as the fires spread.
"The fires are close to Melbourne," said Victoria State Premier John Brumby. "The fires are at Beechworth. The fires are at Churchill. These are still not contained. There's a huge effort to get them under control, and tragically we will have more deaths," he continued.
Moment of Silence
Australia's parliament paused for a moment of silence to remember the victims in what's being called the country's worst natural disaster and a deadly crime.
Investigators suspect arsonists set some of the fires, which have reduced more than 700 homes to rubble and stretched across three states.
"Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours and many good people now lie dead," said Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
"Many others lie injured," he said. "It's an appalling tragedy for the nation.
The prime minister tried to personally comfort those who have lost everything. He promised them help to rebuild in the months ahead.
But in this moment, he and more than 40,000 firefighters are more focused on keeping the flames from devouring what still stands.
Sources: ABC News, The Associated Press, CBN News