14 Jan 2014

1 dead, four missing in Perth bushfire

6:02 am on 14 January 2014

One man has died and four residents are unaccounted for following a devastating bushfire in the Australian state of Perth.

The number of homes known to have been lost in the blaze in the eastern hills is 46, but that is expected to rise after authorities finish assessing the fire zone.

A firefighter battles the blaze  in the Perth Hills.

A firefighter battles the blaze in the Perth Hills. Photo: AAP

The blaze, which has now been contained, flared at Parkerville on Sunday morning and quickly spread to surrounding areas including Stoneville and Mount Helena.

At least 40 homes in Stoneville and another four houses in Parkerville have been lost, with most of those residents informed that their homes have been destroyed, the ABC reports.

Residents affected by the bushfire have been told it could be days before they can return to their homes. However, authorities have said they would escort residents to inspect the damage to their properties if conditions were safe enough.

The West Australian Government has made emergency relief payments of $3000 available to those who have lost their homes, and $1000 to residents whose homes have been damaged.

The State Government has put $A1 million into the Lord Mayor's Distress Relief Fund.

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, AAP reports.

Two evacuation centres were established on Sunday. The Mundaring Recreation Centre had more than 80 evacuees and a second evacuation centre was set up at Brown Park in nearby Swan View.