PERTH, Australia — Wildfires tore across the outskirts of an Australian city yesterday, destroying at least 41 homes and damaging 19 others, 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. 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.
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 41 homes and was threatening more, the authority said.
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.
The fires were expected to burn through the night, and shelters were set up for hundreds of people fleeing their homes.
“When the phone rang and they said, ‘Get out,’ we got out,’’ said David Locke, a retiree who went to the shelter at Roleystone with his wife, Carole, and their cat Daisy.
Authority spokesman Rick Tyers said that the fire had scorched almost 1,000 acres by last night, and that strong winds and huge plumes of smoke were making firefighting very difficult.
The cause of the fires was not immediately known.