Australia battles wildfires near Perth

Firefighters are battling two wildfires in Western Australia, water bombing them from above as they try to stop the flames from spreading.

2 blazes have razed 1,600 hectares of forested land near Perth since Saturday

Firefighters try to put out a bushfire in Roleystone, Australia, near Perth, late Sunday. ((Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia/Reuters))

Firefighters battled two wildfires in Western Australia on Monday, water bombing them from above as they try to stop the flames from spreading.

One fire, on the outskirts of Perth, destroyed at least 40 homes and injured a firefighter, authorities said.

Two blazes have razed 1,600 hectares of forested land to the north and southeast of Perth since Saturday, Fire and Emergency Services Authority spokesman Alan Gale said.

Nobody is believed to have died or been seriously injured in the blazes. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation.

A fire in Swan Valley, northeast of Perth, has largely been brought under control, but another, in the communities of Roleystone and Kelmscott, remained unpredictable in pockets, according to the authority.

At least 41 houses were destroyed and another 19 damaged in Roleystone and Kelmscott, despite water bombing by 200 firefighters, the authority's chief operations officer, Craig Hynes, told reporters.

Farther north, in the Swan Valley district, an estimated 150 firefighters were able to contain another fire by early Monday using water-bombing helicopters and trucks.

About 100 people were told to leave their homes because of the blaze, which started Saturday night and had scorched about 1,200 hectares of forest by Monday.

The Roleystone fire was accidentally started when a man using a power tool in his backyard ignited dry grass with sparks, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority said in a statement. The other fire began when a tree branch that was blown down by strong winds hit electrical transmission infrastructure, it said.

The fires in Australia's far west come as huge areas of the east coast recover from a major cyclone that struck in Queensland state last week and from flooding from drenching rains in Queensland and southern Victoria state.

February is the last month of summer in Australia and also marks the height of both the monsoon season in the tropical north and the riskiest period for wildfires.