The remote Australian town of Yarloop, population 600, is the latest casualty of a string of wildfires that have razed parts of the country in recent months.
Some 95 homes were lost in the town, located about 120 km from the Western Australian capital of Perth, after wildfires swept through it Thursday night after burning through more than 31,000 hectares earlier in the week, according to news site WAToday.com.au.
Hundreds of people have fled to evacuation centers to escape the fire, which was caused by a lightning strike Wednesday evening local time.
“There’s very little of Yarloop left … I look around 360 degrees and everything is burnt to a cinder. I think the post office is the only building left standing [in the main street],” one resident reportedly told local radio.
WAToday.com.au cited Perth television journalist Geoff Parry, who on Friday morning flew over Yarloop in a helicopter, as saying “There’s a house here and there and that’s it.”
Dry and hot conditions across Australia make rampaging wildfires — known locally as bushfires — a seasonal hazard. More than a hundred homes were destroyed in a fire on Christmas Day in the southeastern state of Victoria.