More than 20 homes may have been lost in the Perth Hills area in Western Australia as firefighters battle an out-of-control bushfire.
Emergency warnings are in place for the fire, which started this morning in Parkerville and moved rapidly to surrounding areas.
It is currently burning in a number of suburbs including Parkerville, Stoneville and Mount Helena.
Russell Jones from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) says more than 20 homes may have been lost, though the exact number remains unclear.
“The fire is still out-of-control and uncontained,” he told ABC local radio.
“It has covered approximately 250 hectares. We’ve got 50 appliances on the scene and approximately 100 firefighters.”
He says some firefighters have gone down with heat exhaustion with hot temperatures making fire-fighting extremely difficult.
He says sightseers must stay away from the area.
“We’ve had several reports that there are many people moving through the area looking at the damage and it is making our firefighting efforts extremely difficult.”
The fire is throwing embers and has flames of 20 metres high.
Homes have been evacuated and people have fled to emergency centres.
Mr Jones says he hopes a drop in winds and a cool change overnight will help firefighters control the blaze.
Residents grab essentials as fire approaches
One local resident, Peter, has told ABC local radio embers are falling onto his home near Mount Helena.
He planned to secure his horses and grab a few essentials before leaving his property.
“We are going to get the hell out of here. We are leaving everything,” he said.
“We are just taking our animals, our main clothes; we’ve got our tax files in a box. That’s it.
“We are leaving everything else, it can burn, it doesn’t matter.”
Another resident, Gavin, evacuated from his parents’ home.
“I saw the orange helicopter, it was probably two properties down, so it is coming towards that area, Mount Helena, pretty quick,” he said.
Water-bombing planes are at the scene along with 70 crews from 17 brigades.
DFES says the fire could burn for days, and extra resources are being organised.
Road closures are in place including Richardson Road.
- In a life threatening emergency call 000
- Read the latest bushfire warnings on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website
- You can also view warnings on the ABC Emergency WA state warnings page
- Bushfire updates are also available by phoning 1300 657 209
- Main Roads WA has further details on road closures
- Road reports are also available by phoning 138 138