Police believe missing people may be dead as a result of bush-fires which have swept across southern Tasmania, destroying dozens of houses and forcing over 1,000 people to flee.
There are no confirmed deaths yet but police are searching for bodies as a number of people remain missing.
"I am fearful that someone may have died in this fire… it is a very distinct possibility still and I think people need to brace themselves that that may occur,"acting Tasmania police commissioner ScottTilyard told reporters, saying there were grave fears in a "handful" of cases.
More than 1000 people had been evacuated to the state capital Hobart by early Sunday morning. Hundreds more have sought refuge with relatives.
The island is experiencing a heatwave with temperatures in Hobart hitting a high of 41C.The threat level of the bushfire has been downgraded to ‘watch and act’, but the blaze is still not under control as it sprints through the island.
Over 100 houses have been destroyed. Around 65 homes and a school were burned in the town of Dunalley, while dozens more buildings were razed at Connellys Marsh, Eaglehawk Neck, Murdunna, Copping and Primrose Sands.
Tasmania is an island state, part of the Commonwealth of Australia, located 240 kilometres to the south of the Australian continent.