Bushfire emergency in Australia: People evacuated as Perth blazes

The bushfires that started on Monday are one of the largest bushfires Perth has seen in several years.

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While around 20 lakh people in Australia’s city of Perth were quarantined in a COVID-19 induced lockdown, raging bushfires on the outskirts of the city has forced residents to evacuate their homes. The bushfires that started on Monday are one of the largest bushfires Perth has seen in several years. It has burned through 9,000 hectares, destroyed 81 homes, and has injured six firefighters as of yesterday, BBC News reports.

The officials notified the citizens that the fire may cause more challenging conditions, and urged them to prepare to leave or take shelter elsewhere while continuing to wear masks. "The important thing is the preservation of life. So, if you're quarantining and you're required to evacuate, you should just evacuate," the officials stated. Perth had entered an immediate lockdown this week after the city reported its first COVID-19 case after 10 months. However, no other cases have been reported since then.

The smoke has started blanketing over Perth and the fire is spreading towards the north and north-east of Perth. According to 9news AU, the fires have transformed into a 126km wall of flames.



More than 1,300 homes within the fire zone are without power, and significant damage to the electricity grid will take several days to be fixed. Accessing roads is getting difficult too, as reports say that Perth citizens were confused about where to go, causing mild traffic in the area. The rising smoke hasn’t helped with clear visibility either. Meanwhile, fire services and volunteers have stepped up and set up shelter camps and evacuation centres on sites that have already been burnt by the fires. Maximum people are being shifted to these sites until the fires are brought under control, the officials have stated.

Though the fires in the Shady Hill Estate of Perth were halted using the three retardant lines led by air tankers, State Premier Mark McGowann has stressed that the danger of bushfires hasn’t averted yet. Emergency services are ready in place, aerial tankers have been sourced from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, and planning is in an advanced stage to work through any COVID or quarantine requirements that might be required, officials have informed.

While Australia suffered extreme bushfires last year in its eastern states, experts had stated that the La Nina weather phenomenon will result in cooler conditions in East Australia. They also predicted that West Australia would face the challenge of blazing fires as it has largely missed out on rainfall in 2020, making the region very dry and prone to fires. “This is probably the first real fire of this magnitude that the city has had in its entire history… we always felt that it was imminent one day, and we’ve been very fortunate and we haven’t had a loss of life anywhere,” McGowann said.