Man dies in Australian wildfire, 27 houses lost

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

Flames prevented paramedics from reaching the man who collapsed 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 in a statement on Monday 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 on Sunday.

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

Heat wave temperatures are forecast for much of Australia this week.

About 150 firefighters on Monday continued to fight the blaze which has burnt through about 350 hectares (865 acres) of woodlands.

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