Firefighters were struggling Thursday to contain two major bush fires that broke out in Western Australia at the start of the week.
Authorities said more than 80,000 hectares of land, and two houses and farm buildings, had been destroyed acros the area known as the South West, stretching from Perth southwards.
Fire warnings were in place in districts from the Shire of Beverley, around 130 kilometres east of Perth, across to the coast and down to the southern tip of the state.
Around 61,000 hectares of the land torched by Thursday was in the Shire of Manjimup, around 320 km south of Perth, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said.
The fire was burning along a 240-kilometre perimeter. Some towns, including Northcliffe, had become “undefendable,” the state authority said.
Most of the town’s 600 residents were evacuated and the DFES warned that firefighters could not protect those who refused to leave.
The fires, which often come at the height of summer, were reportedly caused by lightning strikes.
Devastating fires have destroyed land and houses in other parts of Australia in the past month but no fatalities have been recorded.