Wildfires rage across sections of Western Australia

February 6, 2011PERTH, Australia  — Wildfires tore across the outskirts of an Australian city on Sunday, destroying at least 35 homes, authorities said. One firefighter was reportedly injured. Two fires fanned by hot summer winds were burning in forested areas to the north and southeast of Perth in Western Australia state, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority said. At Roleystone and the nearby community of Kelmscott, residents were told to evacuate from the path of a fire that erupted after noon and had claimed 35 homes and was threatening more, the authority said. “There is a threat to lives and homes. You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive,” it said in a warning statement. It said people should leave immediately if they believe the path is clear, otherwise they should dig in and be prepared to take shelter in their homes. Police closed roads leading to threatened areas, preventing residents who were not at home when the fire flared from returning because it was too dangerous. Authority spokesman Rick Tyers said the fire had scorched almost 800 hectares by Sunday evening, and that strong winds and huge plumes of smoke were making firefighting very difficult. The cause of Sunday’s fires was not immediately known. The fires in Australia’s far west come as huge areas of the east coast recover from a huge cyclone that struck in Queensland state last week and from flooding from drenching rains in Queensland and in southern Victoria state.” –CTV News
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