PERTH, Australia – Wildfires blazing out of control in Western Australia state had destroyed around 95 homes in a single township and continued to threaten other communities, an official said on Friday.
Three people were unaccounted for and four firefighters had sustained minor injuries in battling the blazes that had scorched 50,000 hectares (125,000 acres) of woods and farmland since it was 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 township of Yarloop, 125 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Perth, lost 95 homes — about one third of its dwellings — as the fire front hit on Thursday, Gregson said.
"The fire continues to be uncontained and out of control," Gregson told reporters in Perth.
Hundreds of people left their homes for evacuation centers 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.