Bushfires have killed at least seven people in the Australian state of New South Wales since Monday, say police.

The latest fires, which raced towards the coast this week, have also destroyed more than 200 homes.

Earlier on Wednesday, New South Wales Rural Fire Service said 916 homes had been destroyed this season, with another 363 damaged, and 8,159 saved.

Conditions have eased slightly, and a major road that was closed in Victoria was reopened for two hours on Wednesday to allow people to leave. But many people remain in fire-hit areas - in one town, police dropped off 1.6 tonnes of drinking water by boat.The fire service warned they had been unable to reach some people in remote areas.

The deaths brings the total of fire-related fatalities across Australia this season to at least 18, with warnings this could rise.

[Abstract of Original Article from BBC News Service]