23 Mar 2009

Bushfire victims allowed to go home

10:38 pm on 23 March 2009

Six weeks after fires devastated parts of southern Australia, residents of one of the worst-affected towns have finally been allowed to go home.

Marysville was almost completely destroyed by bushfires on 7 February.

It has been sealed off ever since by police, who have been searching for the remains of victims and investigating suspicions of arson, the BBC reports.

Bushfires ripped through south-eastern Australia earlier this year, killing more than 200 people.

Forty-five people died when fires tore through Marysville, north-east of the Victorian state capital, Melbourne.

The destruction of the picturesque town became a symbol of the bushfire disaster, the worst in Australia's recent history.

For six weeks Marysville has been sealed off as investigators searched for signs of arson and more victims among the charred wreckage of homes, businesses and cars.

Victoria's Deputy Police Commissioner Kieran Walshe says the forensic work in Marysville has finished.