Australia battles bush fires

Less than a week after being struck by Cyclone Yasi, Australia has been hit by a series of bushfires raging out of control on the outskirts of Perth.

The city has been declared a natural disaster zone as firefighters continue to battle blazes to the east and north of the city. Hundreds of people have fled from their homes and over one hundred buildings have already been destroyed by the fires.

More than 100 firefighters are battling from the ground and air to contain the fires that are burning out of control in the bush-fringed suburbs of Perth.

Swirling flames reported to be up to 3m (9ft) high have engulfed 59 houses and damaged nearly 30 more.

The weather forecast is for hot, blustery winds that will make the fires even more dangerous and unpredictable.


The blazes come exactly two years after 173 people died in bushfires that swept through the southern state of Victoria.
Emergency chief Craig Hynes said there had been no serious injuries or fatalities.

He said officials were prepared for the winds, but added that the fires were yet to be brought under control.

“Life is our priority,” he said.

Many of the people in evacuation centres were still in a state of shock.

There seems to be no end to Australia’s summer of natural disasters. Towns on the north-east coast of the country are continuing to clean up after last week’s Cyclone Yasi - a category five storm - destroyed hundreds of buildings and valuable crops. This followed major flooding in Queensland and Victoria in January that claimed the lives of more than 30 people.