Bush fire destroys 50 homes in Australia's Perth Hills area

PARKERVILLE, Australia, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A bush fire in Australia destroyed 50 houses but the number could "could have been 450" if firefighters had not contained the blaze, an official said.

The fire started in Parkerville in the Perth Hills area Sunday and spread to nearby Stoneville and Mount Helena, burning through 988 actress of land, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.


There were no reports of injuries.

The Western Australian Government said the fire was contained, but with only 70 percent of the fire zone accessed so the number of damaged houses could rise.

"Had the resources not been immediately placed on this fire that were placed on it, it could have been 450 houses," said State Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis.

Francis said it's possible the fire may have been started at a privately owned power pole.

More than 500 residents were evacuated from the towns affected by the fire. They were told at a community meeting that though the fire was contained it was still too dangerous to return to their homes.

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