Insurers on standby over devastating Perth bushfire

Insurers on standby over devastating Perth bushfire

'Tragically, 59 properties have been lost in this fire, and that number may increase as we continue to assess the extent of the damage, ' he said late on Tuesday, before that number soared to 71.

Strong winds threatening to fan a bushfire prompted Australia on Wednesday to urge thousands of people to leave their homes in the provincial capital of Perth, complicating a lockdown after the state detected its first coronavirus infection in 10 months.

"So it's a great risk", Bailey told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Announcing the news at a media conference, WA Premier Mark McGowan said the devastation from the fire, now in its fourth day, was "almost too much to comprehend".

"DFES [Department of Fire and Emergency Services] advise they have lost 80 per cent of all properties in the rural area of Tilden Park in Gidgegannup [and] will be conducting inquiries in an attempt to establish whether there has been any loss of life", McGowan said.

A large aerial tanker is en route from NSW to help battle the blaze and the prime minister had been briefed on the situation.

"Losing people their homes is really painful".

Scientists said the layout of the Perth Hills left it particularly vulnerable to blazes made increasingly more risky by climate change, with large fires engulfing homes in the area four times since 2009. On 3 February, it was reported that the bushfires are still ongoing as they are now experiencing hot and dry weather conditions.

"Please do everything you can to keep you and your family safe and look after each other", he added.

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"You must shelter before the fire arrives, as the extreme heat will kill you well before the flames reach you", the latest warning said.

Roads out of semi-rural suburb The Vines on Perth's northern outskirts were bumper-to-bumper with traffic, leaving some choosing to stay. "And it is going to continue to be a challenging fire for at least the next three, four or five days", he said.

Meanwhile, surrounding areas including Parkerville, Ellenbrook, Chidlow and Jane Brook have been told to leave if they are not prepared to fight the blaze.

"We grabbed bedding, photos, the two kids and the dog and got out of there".

Scientists say fires are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change, with people living in urban-bushland areas like the Perth Hills especially vulnerable to the impact of blazes.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Superintendent Peter Sutton said about 250 firefighters had been battling the erratic blaze.

The cause of the blaze was unknown.

Wildfires are common during Australia's summer.

"The fire has devastated our community".

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