BENDIGO BATTLES WALL OF FLAMES

A SECOND person has died in Bendigo's devastating fires, taking the state's death toll to 131.About 50 homes were also destroyed as fire swept through the city's west on Saturday.The Bracewell Street fire was fanned by 50kmh wind as it burnt through more than 600 hectares of forest.It destroyed at least 14 homes and many more sheds, cars and fences.At 11am yesterday, authorities said the fire still had not been contained.Homes in the vicinity of Albert Street, Maiden Gully Road, Keens Road, Sparrowhawk Road and Happy Valley Road were lost.Many more were severely damaged by the flames.At the height of the blaze, residents in Maiden Gully, California Gully, Long Gully, Eaglehawk and West Bendigo were evacuated and advised to seek shelter at the Kangaroo Flat Leisure Centre.Residents praised the efforts of firefighters, who saved many homes and worked under conditions described as the worst in the state's history.More reports, photos – see The Advertiser tomorrow.Do you have pictures? newsdesk@bendigoadvertiser.com.auView slideshow.

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