Australia: 30 homes estimated to have been lost in wildfire
(Sourced from PTI)
An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian city of Perth has destroyed an estimated 30 homes and was threatening more on Tuesday, with locals across the region told it's too late to leave. "We are just waiting for confirmation of the numbers but we're looking somewhere in the vicinity of 30-plus homes lost," Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The almost 7,000 hectares blaze, which has a 60 kilometers perimeter, began on Monday and raged through the night near the town of Wooroloo, with the shires of Mundaring, Chittering, Northam, and the city of Swan impacted. Western Australia state's Department of Fire and Emergency Services said the blaze had burned through 6,667 hectares by Tuesday. However, the cause of the blaze is unknown.
Meanwhile, Bailey informed that there had been no other injuries apart from a firefighter being treated for smoke inhalation. People in a 25-kilometer stretch west from Wooroloo to the Walyunga National Park northeast of Perth had been issued a warning, which said, "You must shelter before the fire arrives, as the extreme heat will kill you well before the flames reach you."
Roads out of Perth's northern suburb, The Vines, were bumper-to-bumper with traffic, leaving some choosing to stay. A warning to other threatened areas told people to leave if they are not prepared to fight the blaze. The bushfire is unpredictable and weather conditions are rapidly changing, the warning said, urging people to stay vigilant.
"I could smell the fire and went out the back and the whole yard was filled with smoke. We grabbed bedding, photos, the two kids, and the dog and got out of there," said Melissa Stahl, 49, who received a text telling her to evacuate.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Superintendent Peter Sutton said about 250 firefighters are battling erratic fire behavior. "It has made it very hard, near on impossible...to suppress this fire," Sutton said. Wildfires are common during the current South Hemisphere summer. However, the season has been mild on Australia's southeast coast which was devastated by massive fires last summer.