Wildfire hits more than 20 homes in SW Australia

AP News
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Posted: Nov 23, 2011 6:44 PM
Wildfire hits more than 20 homes in SW Australia

More than 20 homes have been destroyed or damaged by wildfire in Australia's southwest after authorities lost control of a planned forest-burning operation.

Emergency services officials say hundreds of people have been evacuated from townships in the Margaret River region of Western Australia state as more than 100 firefighters battle the blaze on Thursday, assisted by aerial water bombers.

The state government has confirmed that the blaze began Wednesday morning when a controlled burning operation in a nearby national park got out of control.

Authorities try to reduce wildfire risk by burning off dead wood and grass in controlled operations aimed at preventing the flames from spreading beyond a contained area.