Officials urged residents of a small Western Australia mining community to flee on Monday after an out—of—control wildfire with flames up to 60 feet (18 meters) high took aim at their homes.
The slow—moving blaze had already consumed 54,000 acres (22,000 hectares) of land near Eneabba, 170 miles (280 kilometers) north of Perth, with 166 firefighters battling the flames, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia said in a statement.
“If you are in this area, your best option for survival is away from the fire,” the agency warned. “If the way is clear, leave for your safer place now and take your survival kit with you. Relocating at the last minute is deadly.”
Officials did not say how many homes were at risk. The area is sparsely populated and largely farmland.
Roads were closed in the area, and water bombers tried to control the blaze, which has raged since Saturday.
Temperatures in Western Australia have been scorching throughout the Southern Hemisphere summer. On Tuesday, the mercury is predicted to rise to 106 Fahrenheit (41 Celsius).
Wildfires are common during Australian summers, charring thousands of acres (hectares) and occasionally tearing through towns and cities.
Last year, 173 people were killed and more than 2,000 homes destroyed in one day as hundreds of fires burned across south-eastern Australia.