Sydney, Australia, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- The number of homes razed by a large out-of-control bushfire northeast of Perth in Western Australia was raised to 71 Wednesday, with fears that strong winds will fan the flames further.
Assessment teams had confirmed the loss of 71 properties but were still working through the fire zone, Western Australia’s Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said, according to national broadcaster ABC.
“The bushfire is moving in a west-southwesterly direction. It is out of control and unpredictable,” the state’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said on its Facebook page Wednesday.
“Firefighters are on the scene, actively fighting the fire on northern and western sides.”
More than 300 firefighters are trying to quell the fire, which has an 80-kilometer perimeter near Perth, the fourth most populated city in the country, before winds are expected to whip the area in the afternoon with speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour.
So far, no loss of life has been reported.
The fire, which started in the town of Wooroloo on Monday and soon doubled in size, has already razed more than 9,400 hectares of land.
It has also forced hundreds of residents to evacuate the danger zone, despite the strict lockdown in place due to a community case of Covid-19, as the authorities consider the preservation of lives from the fires the priority.
“If you are in an area subject to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions leave now, to a suitable premises or safer place, wear a mask and continue to follow precautions to minimize the spread of the virus,” DFES said of those who are able to leave safely.
The vast majority of the 2 million inhabitants of nearby Perth will continue to comply with the lockdown measures in place until Friday. EFE-EPA