Western Australia's bushfire destroys over 70 homes

Australia Tells Thousands To Leave Homes As Bushfire Threatens Perth

The nearly 17,000-acre blaze, which has a 60-kilometre perimeter, began yesterday and raged through the night near the town of Wooroloo, with the shires of Mundaring, Chittering, Northam, and the city of Swan impacted.

The blaze has already destroyed at least 71 homes, he said, adding that there were no reports of any deaths due to the fire.

A total fire ban is in place on Wednesday with 35C-plus temperatures forecast as firefighters battle the Wooroloo bushfire in extreme terrain and conditions.

No new virus cases have been detected since the lockdown began, but the number of homes lost is still expected to rise slightly.

But after "a bleak couple of days", he said, firefighters managed to keep the flames at bay overnight as the blaze threatened homes in more populous areas. There had been no other injuries.

"That is a concern ahead of some hard conditions today where we're going to see the wind shift to the southeast and that'll bring that northern flank under pressure", WA's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Commissioner Darren Klemm said.

'Erratic fire behaviour fanned by strong winds continues to challenge crews on the frontline who are protecting what they can & putting containment lines in place, ' the department tweeted.

"DFES [Department of Fire and Emergency Services] advise they have lost 80 per cent of all properties in the rural area of Tilden Park in Gidgegannup [and] will be conducting inquiries in an attempt to establish whether there has been any loss of life", McGowan said.

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Roads out of some Perth suburbs were lined with cars as people attempted to leave, amid confusion about where to go during a COVID-19 lockdown.

A large aerial tanker is en route from NSW to help battle the blaze and the prime minister had been briefed on the situation.

"This is an extremely unsafe fire and a serious situation". Weather conditions are extremely volatile, ' WA Premier Mark McGowan told residents.

Wildfires are common during the current South Hemisphere summer. However, the season has been mild on Australia's south-east coast, which was devastated by massive fires last summer.

Jenni Stanton, 59, received a text about 2am telling her to evacuate from her home at The Vines, west of Walyunga National Park. "We grabbed bedding, photos, the two kids and the dog and got out of there", she added.

Hundreds of residents were forced to take shelter at evacuation centers, although people in some areas were later told it was too unsafe to leave their homes.

"What we don't want is indecision from people about whether they should evacuate or not when we require them to evacuate, so that evacuation overrides any quarantining requirements that people may have", Klemm said.

The cause of the blaze was unknown.

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