Authorities say 56 homes have been lost to a massive bushfire that continues to burn out of control east of Perth.
DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm said that figure was likely to grow as teams completed their damage assessments.
The blaze has so far burnt through 7,300 hectares inside an 80-kilometre perimeter.
“DFES will be conducting enquiries in an attempt to establish whether there has been any loss of life,” Western Australia’s Premier, Mark McGowan, said during a press conference today.
An emergency warning is in place for parts of the shires of Mundaring, Chittering and Northam, and the City of Swan, forcing dozens of residents to flee amid confusion over the COVID lockdown.
Mr McGowan said he had briefed the Prime Minister on the fire, as well as the COVID situation, earlier this morning.
“Right now WA is battling two different kinds of emergencies,” he said.
Two firefighters were also injured battling the blaze, but are recovering well. One was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and the other working through the night after suffering minor burns to his ear.
Residents flee to evacuation centre and family’s homes:
The emergency fire alert applies to parts of The Vines, Bailup, Ellenbrook, Gidgegannup, Millendon, Walyunga National Park, Upper Swan, Aveley, the Avon Valley national park, Wundowie, Red Hill, Belhus, Baskerville, Herne Hill, Bullsbrook, Wooroloo and Brigadoon.
Dozens of families fled to the evacuation centre at the Brown Park Complex in Swan View while a second centre has been set up at Swan Active in Midland.
Some sections of Perth affected by the blaze are also in the COVID lockdown zone, leading to confusion over where people should evacuate to.
Western Australian Police Commissioner, Chris Dawson, confirmed this morning however, that while Perth was in lockdown, anyone who needs to leave their home to escape the fire should not hesitate to do so.
“The fire is still uncontrolled, if you are in lockdown, or in any form of isolation or quarantine for COVID-19, you must do whatever you need to do… to protect your life and those of your immediately family of course,” Mr Dawson said.
“Don’t stay in that property if you think you have to obey the COVID rules.”
This is a developing story. Please come back for updates.