(PERTH, Australia) -- Firefighters near the western Australian city of Perth continue to battle bush fires that have ravaged the area and destroyed more than 60 homes, reports the BBC.
Hundreds of people have fled their homes as the area around the city has been declared a natural disaster zone. The flames have been exacerbated by winds in the region that are gusting up to 44 miles per hour. A Fire and Emergency Services Authority employee, however, has told affected residents that the wind is now working in favor of emergency workers.
The Australian government has pledged financial assistance to those affected as Prime Minister Julia Gillard says some have lost everything to the blaze.
Exactly one year ago, 173 people were killed in the southern state of Victoria when bush fires swept through the region. No serious injuries or fatalities have been reported in the Perth fires.
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