Friday, 16 April, 2021

Australia: Hundreds evacuated as bushfires rage in Perth

A local resident takes a panoramic image of the bush fire and Perth CBD on her phone from Kings Park on 2 February 2021 in Perth Australia Australian wildfire estimated to have destroyed 30 homes, threatens to ruin more
Deanna Wagner | 04 February, 2021, 06:59

"That is a concern ahead of some hard conditions today where we're going to see the wind shift to the southeast and that'll bring that northern flank under pressure", WA's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Commissioner Darren Klemm said.

"We've had three outbreaks. one on the northwest corner of the fire which is going to threaten Shady Hills in a couple of hours", he told reporters yesterday. No other injuries were reported.

Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey said more than 30 homes are believed to have been destroyed.

State Premier Mark McGowan said 80pc of all properties at Tilden Park near Gidgegannup on Perth's northeast rural fringe have been lost.

McGowan said a large aerial tanker was flying from the Australian east coast to help fight the blaze.

Casey Briggs takes a closer look at the latest fire situation in Perth's north-east.

In a northern Australia Insurance Inquiry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that property insurance costs in the region had increased faster than the rest of the country over the past decade, pointing to high risk of extreme weather as the main reason for the premium hikes.

Firefighter hoses down a vehicle in front a fire in Brigadoon
Australians flee massive bushfire near Perth amid coronavirus lockdown

Firefighters are forced to drive through flames reaching over the road.

"I could smell the fire and went out the back and the whole yard was filled with smoke, " said Melissa Stahl, 49, who received a text message telling her to evacuate. "We grabbed bedding, photos, the two kids and the dog and got out of there". Officials issued public health warnings urging people to stay inside and avoid inhaling the smoke.

After a particularly impactful and costly wildfire season in 2020, which drove some reasonably significant losses to some reinsurance capital providers, the summer 2020/21 season was expected to be different due to La Nina conditions emerging.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Superintendent Peter Sutton said about 250 firefighters had been battling the erratic fire.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) estimated that insured bushfire losses during the accepted seasonal months reached nearly AU $2.34 billion previous year, with more than 38,600 claims filed with insurers due to fire impacts from the season.

January services PMI expands for fourth straight month
Still, the headline figure remained below its long-run average of 53.3 and was consistent with a moderate pace of growth. Marketing efforts, the reopening of some establishments and strengthening demand supported the increase in sales.