(CNN)The state of Western Australia is facing an "unprecedented situation" as it battles a raging wildfire while millions of residents are under coronavirus lockdown, the state's premier Mark McGowan said in a media briefing Wednesday.
First came Covid lockdown. Now a bushfire is forcing these Australians to evacuate
The Perth metropolitan area and the Peel and South West regions of Western Australia went into a five-day lockdown Sunday after a single Covid-19 case was identified in a hotel security guard at a quarantine facility in the city. The lockdown is set to lift Friday evening.
But the potential threat of a Covid-19 outbreak has been superseded by a more imminent danger -- a bushfire raging near the town of Wooroloo on Perth's outskirts.
"The most important thing is preservation of life and so if you're quarantining and you're required to evacuate, you should just evacuate," Western Australia's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Commissioner Darren Klemm said in a media briefing Wednesday. "That evacuation overrides any quarantining requirements that people might have."
The blaze has already destroyed at least 71 homes, he said, adding that there were no reports of any deaths due to the fire. The number of burned-out homes is expected to rise, McGowan said.
"Western Australia is currently in the midst of an unprecedented situation, we're fighting disasters on two fronts," McGowan said.