Human Remains Found In WA Bushfire Zone
Human remains have been found in two burnt-out houses in the bushfire-ravaged town of Yarloop, south of Perth, where at least 121 homes have been destroyed.
West Australian Police said the remains could belong to two men, aged 73 and 77, who have been missing since the blaze swept across the town on Thursday night.
No formal identification has been made, but the families of both men have been advised of the developments.
"Further forensic work will need to be undertaken once it is deemed safe to do so, and reports will be prepared for the WA coroner," a police spokesman said.
Inquiries are ongoing into other people who have not been accounted for, he added.
Earlier on Saturday, police said three people were missing from the blaze, which also wiped out at least 10 other structures in Yarloop, including historic buildings.
A family member, who did not want to be named, told AAP on Saturday that she feared Malcolm Taylor had perished because no one had heard from him since Thursday evening before the fire ripped through the town, and he had not registered himself with authorities.
When she last spoke with the 73-year-old, who requires a hearing aid, he said he was going to stay at his house.
"He goes to bed early, around 7.30pm, so we're worried that he turned off his hearing aid and went to sleep and then the houses went up so quickly."
She said the gas bottles outside the house would have blown up and the family was concerned Mr Taylor had been killed.
The family had also seen footage on the news of Mr Taylor's razed house and the remains of his burnt-out car.
"If Malcolm was all right, he would have rung someone by now," she said.
Premier Colin Barnett met with residents at the Pinjarra evacuation centre and said the state government would help rebuild public facilities at Yarloop, although he was unsure how many of the 545 people would return.
"I'm sure there will be a Yarloop, but probably not a Yarloop of its previous size," he said.
Federal MP Andrew Hastie also visited the evacuation centre and passed on the prime minister's sympathy to the victims and admiration for those helping.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Wayne Gregson said it had been a challenging bushfire and they were "not out of the woods yet".
An emergency warning remains in place for a large part of the region, where more than 70,000 hectares have been burnt since the lightning-sparked fire began on Wednesday.
Disaster assistance will be available for victims under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
Four firefighters have been injured battling the blaze, while more than 60 NSW firefighters arrived on Saturday to help fatigued crews.
Several roads and recreation sites remain closed, with dairy farmers forced to dump thousands of litres of milk.
Western Power says thousands of properties remain without power, but burnt trees and debris in danger of collapsing must be cleared before the network can be rebuilt.
About 835 people have registered at two evacuation centres and children there have welcomed distractions including horses and players from the Wildcats basketball team.
Material donations are not being officially accepted, but essentials and small gifts have been given to those in need, and animals have been provided with shelter.
The CWA has requested people not bring food to the evacuation centres.
People wanting to help can make monetary donations through the Lord Mayor's Distress Relief Fund and the state government has already committed $1 million.
Police also insist there is no problem with looters.