The remains of an elderly couple have been found in a burned-out home in rural New South Wales, police said on Thursday, as Australia comes to grips with an earlier and more severe start to its bushfire season.
Police had been investigating the whereabouts of a 77-year-old man and 69-year-old woman from the remote town of Coongbar.
“NSW Police and specialist forensic officers returned to the home and, a short time ago, remains were located inside the property,” police said in a statement.
The state’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian Tweeted her condolences.
More than 70 homes have been destroyed by spring fires in Australia, officials said on Thursday, straining communities already suffering under the region’s worst drought in living memory.
Blazes in New South Wales have ravaged more than 80,000 hectares of land this week alone, and state fire service officials said they were monitoring about 25 fires ahead of what is shaping up to be a long bushfire season.
Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Paul Tait.