Homes and other buildings in the small West Australian township of Yarloop are feared lost in the bushfire burning south of Perth.
Authorities will be unable to confirm the losses until daylight, but local MP Murray Cowper says residents who stayed to protect their homes have told him numerous buildings in the town have been destroyed.
‘Yarloop has sustained heavy damage,’ Mr Cowper told the ABC.
‘Fire came down the hill and I understand it has gone through the town site.
‘There’s unconfirmed reports that we’ve lost the pub and a number of other significant buildings.’
Mr Cowper said he was ‘thankful’ no lives had been lost so far.
One local resident told the Seven Network she had been ‘getting phone calls confirming the house is gone, my sister’s house, my mum’s house all gone. It’s all gone. There is nothing there’.
This weekend’s Southbound music festival has also been cancelled.
The fire has been ravaging Waroona, Harvey and surrounding areas, including Preston Beach, in Western Australia’s Peel and South West regions since Wednesday.
Hot and windy conditions are forecast for south of Perth on Friday.
So far 31,000 hectares have been burnt, a vineyard lost, and a man in his early 20s was burnt on his back while battling the blaze near Waroona on Thursday afternoon.
Drakesbrook Fine Wines owner Bernie Worthington said his vineyard, olive grove and orchard were destroyed.
A bridge on the South West Highway has also been burnt, which means it could be some time before the road re-opens.
Hundreds of people have fled to evacuation centres in Pinjarra and Australind, and residents have been told they are not likely to be able to return home for at least three days.
The fire was sparked by lightning, and reported just before 7.30am on Wednesday.