Australian firefighters manage to contain bushfire burning near Perth


Sydney, Feb 6 (AFP/APP): Australian firefighters have managed to contain a bushfire burning near Perth, authorities said Saturday, allowing them to downgrade the blaze which has destroyed 86 homes.

Despite another night battling the fire amid strong winds on the fringes of Australia’s fourth-biggest city, crews managed to hold the blaze back and reduced the emergency warning to a watch-and-act alert ahead of forecast rains.

“I am really happy to report that the Wooroloo fire is now 100 percent contained,” Western Australia state fire commissioner Darren Klemm told media. But Klemm warned that the blaze was still burning inside containment lines and winds up to 60 kilometres an hour (37 mph) were also expected. Preparations were now underway to allow evacuated residents to return home including to the hard-hit suburb of Tilden Park — where an estimated 80 percent of properties were lost.

“This is a great outcome, and it gives those residents of those terribly affected areas, particularly around Tilden Park, access back,” Klemm said. Seven firefighters have sustained minor injuries, but no deaths have been reported in the bushfire, which has scorched more than 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) since it was sparked Monday.

It comes about a year after Australia was hit by unprecedented climate change-fuelled bushfires that devastated whole communities and killed billions of animals.

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