Australian Wildfire Razes 40 Homes, One Man Dead
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A fast-moving wildfire destroyed at least 40 homes in western Australia's Perth, officials said Monday, with one man dying as he prepared for the approaching inferno.
The blaze, thought to have been started by a fallen power line in the city's wooded outskirts on Sunday, was fanned by hot, strong gusts that saw 20-meter(66-foot) flames tear through residential streets.
"It has been confirmed that 40 homes have been lost at this stage, but this number is expected to increase as damage assessments continue throughout the day," Western Australia state's fire and emergency services department said.
Media reports put the number at 44 -- 40 in Stoneville and four in Parkerville -- though that could not be confirmed by officials.
The ambulance service said a man, aged 62, had died after collapsing on the roof of his house as he prepared for the oncoming blaze.
Hundreds of residents fled their homes for evacuation centers and were anxiously awaiting news Monday. Some said they had only seconds to escape, AFP reported.
"We obviously knew that the fire was moving pretty quickly," Stoneville resident Aaron Miles told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"We just went for the important stuff -- hard drive, documents. Everything else is technically replaceable if it comes to that."
Officials said the blaze had been contained but not controlled and warned that there was still a risk to life and property if conditions shifted.
There were 275 firefighters still battling the flames that had already burnt through 650 hectares.