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Australian bushfire threatens lives in Perth

Locals were told to evacuate if the way was clear or take shelter as the fire poured thick smoke over the area.

FILE: A car makes its way through thick fog mixed with bushfire smoke in the Ruined Castle area of the Blue Mountains, some 75 kilometres from Sydney, on 11 January 2020. Picture: AFP

SYDNEY - Australian firefighters were battling an out-of-control bushfire in the west coast city of Perth Saturday, as the blaze threatened lives and homes.

People in several southern suburbs were told "to act immediately to survive" as the blaze threatened homes near Oakford about 35 kilometres south of Perth's city-centre, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said in an emergency warning.

Locals were told to evacuate if the way was clear or take shelter as the fire poured thick smoke over the area.

Aerial images showed at least one shed ablaze as spot fires jumped ahead of the front, with several water-bombing aircraft working to contain the blaze.

Several roads had been closed and evacuation centres set-up.

Firefighters were contending with "extremely difficult" conditions, the department said as winds pushed the fast-moving fire northwest and temperatures climbed over 32 degrees Celsius (89 Fahrenheit).

There were also several other wildfires burning around the edges of the city.

Western Australia was spared the brunt of last summer's devastating climate change-fuelled wildfires, which mostly ravaged the country's two most populous states New South Wales and Victoria.

The fires razed more than 24 million hectares of drought-stricken bushland and forest across Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, killing more than 30 people and destroying thousands of homes.

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