Bushfire destroys homes in Western Australia

Last updated 13:47 14/01/2014
Reuters

More than 40 homes have been destroyed by bushfire in the Perth Hills area of Western Australia.

Perth bushfire
DESTRUCTION: Fire fighters battle against a bushfire in Perth's hills.

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Australian fire authorities say a devastating bushfire in the Perth hills that has destroyed more than 50 properties was probably sparked by a power pole on private land.

Firefighters have brought under control a blaze that destroyed 52 homes and two sheds, but authorities warned strong winds could cause a flare-up.

"I can confirm that 52 properties have been destroyed by the fire over the course of the last two days," Department of Fire and Emergency Services Superintendent Gary Baxter told ABC radio.

He said the fire was most likely due to a power pole.

"All our indicators and our investigation team have led us to believe that," Baxter said.

The blaze, which tore through 650 hectares in the Shire of Mundaring on Sunday, was contained on Monday.

A watch and act alert remained in place for some areas, DFES said.

"Firefighters are expecting strong gusty south westerly winds during the evening, easing in the early morning," the agency added in a statement.

"The strong gusty winds could cause flare ups."

Four people who were feared missing in the blaze were accounted for, with the only fatality remaining a 62-year-old man in Hovea who collapsed on the roof of his house on Sunday while preparing for the fire.

One resident tried to get back to their house on Monday afternoon and suffered burns to their hands and feet.

People who lost their homes are expected to be escorted to the ruins later today.

DFES said it was waiting to assess the entire disaster zone.

"We should have limited access back in by Wednesday," DFES' Craig Waters told Macquarie Radio in Sydney.

"One of the issues we do have is working with Western Power. They do have 140 power poles to replace, so we're still working through that process."

State and Federal relief funds have been set up by the Western Australia and Australian governments.

- WA Today and AAP

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