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Man dies in Australian wildfire

A man died fighting a wildfire that destroyed wooded hills near Australia's west coast city of Perth, destroying at least 27 houses.

Flames prevented paramedics from reaching the man who collapsed yesterday on the roof of his home in suburban Hovea on Perth's eastern fringe.

The ambulance service said he died at the scene while attempting to protect his house. It was not immediately known if the house was destroyed.

The state fire service said today that 27 homes had been confirmed destroyed, adding that "this number is expected to increase as damage assessments continue".

The service said two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion yesterday.

The wildfire risk has been heightened by heat wave conditions on the west coast. Perth's temperature reached 43C (109F) on Saturday, the city's hottest day in six years.

Heatwave temperatures are forecast for much of Australia this week.

About 150 firefighters continued today to fight the blaze which has burnt through about 865 acres of woodlands.

AP

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