PERTH – An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed at least 59 homes and was threatening more Tuesday, with many residents across the region told it is too late to leave.
The 7,000-hectare (17,000-acre) blaze, which has a 80-kilometer (50-mile) 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 affected.
“Firefighters have done a remarkable job in some of the most challenging conditions that we’ve experienced in the metropolitan region for some time,” Western Australia state Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said.
“Tragically, 59 properties have been lost in this fire and that number may increase as we continue to assess the extent of the damage," Klemm added.
Six firefighters sustained minor injuries, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. No other injuries were reported.
The fire doubled in size overnight and burned through 7,366 hectares (18,202 acres) of farm and woodland, officials said.
State Premier Mark McGowan said 80% of all properties at Tilden Park near Gidgegannup on Perth's northeast rural fringe have been lost.
McGowan said a large aerial tanker was flying from the Australian east coast to help fight the blaze.