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  1. ITV Report

Lightning sends rural Australian homes up in flames

Rural homes in Australian state of Victoria have collapsed in flames as wildfires sparked by lightning force residents to flee.

Bushfires covering 40,000 hectares (400 square kilometres) destroyed about a dozen homes and killed hundreds of cattle with up to 40 towns under threat amid strong winds.

Around 800 people were also evacuated, though there were no immediate reports of deaths or major injuries.

Emergency officials confirmed many of the fires were started by lightning.