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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0945 GMT (1745 HKT)
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
Gene Simmons reflects on 40 years of KISS, and how even rock royalty needs sound business principles.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0915 GMT (1715 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.