Australian fires: Homes, businesses, land destroyed

Australian fires: Homes, businesses, land destroyed

Three people are feared dead and nearly 100 homes and businesses have been destroyed by a bushfire in Western Australia.

Hundreds of firefighters are still battling the blaze in the town of Yarloop, south of Perth.

A small town has been left in ruins; destroyed by an out-of-control bushfire. Everywhere you look, homes and businesses - dozens of them - reduced to ash.

And there are fears for the safety of three people currently unaccounted for.

It's a tough time and it's broken even the toughest farmers like Tony De Rosa.

"I was going to retire, but I've now got to start again."

Mr De Rosa lost sheds, machinery, cars, livestock, most of his crop and his home which was built in the 1920s.

"It's heartbreaking", he says, "all the trees we planted 20 to 30 years ago, they are all gone."

It was all claimed by a raging inferno, sparked by a lightning strike. It was an eerie sight from the air.

A blinding haze on the ground, Eric Walmsley says he was one of the few farmers who stayed behind to try to fight it.

"We were fighting the fire and the sparks were going straight over our head and landing 30 to 40 metres behind me."

Most residents fled though, some had less than five minutes to pack. Time wasn't on their side.

The out-of-control fire has already claimed 50,000 hectares, fuelled by dry, hot and windy conditions.

More townships are now in its sights.

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