Over 40 homes destroyed in Western Australian bushfires

February 7, 2011 12:22 pm 

SYDNEY, Feb. 7 — More than 40 houses are expected to have been destroyed in bushfires burning out of control in Roleystone, an outer south-eastern suburb of Perth in Western Australia (WA) and hundreds of residents have been evacuated, a senior fire official said on Monday.

John McMillan, regional coordinator for the WA Fire and Emergency Services Authority, said the fire services were utterly committed to fighting the fires.

"At the moment, we have assessment teams out in the field, assessing the structures that have been impacted," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio on Monday.

"The 40 (homes) … are expected to be revised upwards in the light of day," he said.

"We haven't had loss of life. We are grateful for that but certainly there's a lot of trauma that goes with it."

McMillan said neither of two big fires outside Perth was under control, and unpredictable and strong winds are expected on Monday morning.

"Our struggle will remain until we get some respite in these unusual weather conditions," he said.

One firefighter has been injured and taken to hospital after he was believed to have been hit by a fire truck near Roleystone.

At least 12 people have been hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

Hundreds of residents have evacuated from Roleystone and the nearby bush-fringed community of Kelmscott to escape the other big blaze at the edge of the Swan Valley to the north where homes, vineyards and farms are also threatened.

Firefighters are battling another big blaze at the edge of the Swan Valley to the north where homes, vineyards and farms are also threatened.

Relocation centers have been set up near both fires and residents of a nursing home in Kelmscott have been evacuated to a shopping center.

Many roads have been closed in threatened areas and residents who have left will not be allowed back until the all-clear is given.

The Fire and Emergency Services Authority said the fire in the Roleystone area had been accidentally sparked by a grinder and the other major fire started when a tree branch was blown down by strong winds on to electrical transmission infrastructure. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/LDV/ebp

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