SYDNEY (Reuters) – Residents in Western Australia state were urged to evacuate their homes on Saturday as a bushfire spiraled out of control near the state capital Perth amid widespread high temperatures.
More than 40 bushfires were burning across Australia’s largest state on Saturday, with residents in Chittering Shire, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Perth, at risk from the uncontrolled blaze, firefighters said.
Australia is grappling with a high-risk bushfire season after the start of an El Nino weather event, associated with extreme events such as wildfires, cyclones and droughts.
“You are in danger and must act immediately to survive. Lives and homes are at risk,” the state Department of Fire and Emergency Services said on its website about the Chittering fire , a rural area home to approximately 6,000 people.
The emergency alert came amid a heatwave warning in effect in many parts of the state on Saturday, which lifted the risk of bushfires. In Perth, a maximum temperature of 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit) was forecast, almost 10 degrees above the city’s average January maximum, according to data from the national weather forecaster.
Australia’s last two fire seasons have been quiet compared to the catastrophic “black summer” of 2019-20, which destroyed an area the size of Turkey and killed 33 people.
(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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