According to reports from Reuters, the Australian bushfire death toll has risen to 171.

These are the Australia's worst wildfires in history.

There's no words to describe it, other than it's mass murder, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said, visibly upset during a television interview, Reflected the country's disgust at the idea that arsonists may have set some of the 400 fires that devastated Victoria State, or helped them jump containment lines.

The Victoria Country Fire Service said some 850 square miles (2,200 square kilometers) were burned out.

The toll was likely to rise even further, a Victoria police spokesman said by telephone from Melbourne.