Wildfires blazing out of control in Western Australia state have destroyed around 95 homes in a single town and continue to threaten other communities.
Three people were unaccounted for and four firefighters had suffered minor injuries while tackling the blazes that had scorched 50,000 hectares of woods and farmland since they were ignited by lightning strikes on Wednesday, fire and emergency services commissioner Wayne Gregson said.
People are often reported unaccounted for while evacuating from fire zones but usually turn up later unharmed.
The town of Yarloop, 80 miles from Perth, lost 95 homes – about one third of its dwellings – as the fire front hit on Thursday, Mr Gregson said.
“The fire continues to be uncontained and out of control,” He told reporters in Perth.
Hundreds of people left their homes for evacuation centres while 150 fire trucks supported by water bombers fought the blaze, he said.
Destructive wildfires are common across much of Australia during the southern hemisphere summer.
In 2009, wildfires killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Victoria state.