News State Western Australia News One dead, 44 home lost in WA fire

One dead, 44 home lost in WA fire

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Authorities have confirmed one person is dead and 44 homes have been destroyed and  by a bushfire in the Perth hills.

The authorities are expecting the number of houses lost to further rise.

The massive fire, which blazed through communities near Mundaring on Sunday afternoon, was contained overnight, but was still not under control.

A favourable change in the weather helped the 270 firefighters who battled the 650 hectare blaze, with the warnings downgraded to a watch and act level.

One man, a 62-year-old living in nearby Hovea, died when he collapsed while on the roof of his house.

St John’s ambulance crews were unable to reach him in time.

The fate of a number of animals including horses, chickens and pets is still unknown but residents say they are bracing for the worst.

Photographs of the damaged properties will be shown to residents to confirm their loss, before they are taken to the ruins.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

A community meeting will be held at 10am (WST) to update the locals as to the damage, and when they will be allowed back to their properties.

Premier Colin Barnett will also be briefed on the damage this morning.

Insurers have already declared the fire a catastrophic event, urging those who have suffered losses to contact their insurers as soon as they can and the claims will be prioritised.

A watch and act alert remains in place for people in the eastern part of Parkerville, Stoneville, and Mount Helena, as well as the western part of Gidgegannup and Chidlow in Mundaring Shire, and the city of Swan.

Some firefighters have been treated for heat exhaustion and bee stings after battling the fire’s flames, which were said to be up to 20 metres high.

Two evacuation centres were established, with the Mundaring Recreation Centre filling up with more than 80 evacuees, and a second evacuation centre set up at Brown Park in nearby Swan View.