Koala rescued from Australia's wildfire wasteland

HEALESVILLE, Australia (AP) - It's one small bright moment in Australia's wildfire tragedy.

A female koala nicknamed "Sam" is said to be doing fine after being rescued by a firefighter.

David Tree says the koala was moving gingerly on scorched paws, crossing the blackened landscape, clearly in pain. It stopped when it saw Tree following behind.

Tree says he gave the koala water from a bottle. Tree's fire team called animal welfare officers as it resumed its patrols on Sunday, the day after deadly firestorms swept southern Victoria state.

Thousands of acres have been burned out, almost 1,000 homes destroyed and more than 180 people killed.

Countless animals were killed in the disaster, which hit farming and forest regions to the north and east of the Victoria state capital of Melbourne.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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