Fire Threatens Lives, Homes North of Perth

January 5, 2021 Updated: January 6, 2021

A number of inland communities north of Perth are under threat from a fast-moving bushfire, with homes and lives at risk.

The blaze has already burnt through more than 7200 hectares and is proving difficult for firefighters to contain as it burns out of control, fanned by strong easterly winds.

Authorities are concerned for people and homes in Ocean Farms Estate, Seaview Park and surrounding areas.

On the night of Jan. 5 people in the Ocean Farms and Seaview residential areas were told to activate their bushfire plans and leave immediately.

“Your life will be in danger if you stay,” the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.

Other communities in the area have been told to heed the latest advice and take the appropriate action with an emergency warning message still in place.

Incident controller Andy Duckworth said the blaze was running at up to 3.5 kilometres an hour in challenging conditions, with high temperatures and strong, shifting winds across the fire ground.

The fire perimeter has stretched to 50km with 200 firefighters on the ground supported by up to 13 aircraft, including a large air tanker.

Officer Duckworth said particular concerns were held for people living in the mainland community of Wedge Island with authorities unable to send ground crews into the area because of the presence of unexploded ordinance from an old bombing range.

“There’s a lot of bush around there, and we’re limited in our ability to fight the fire. We can use our aircraft but not much else,” he said.

“So we’re not confident we can pull it up before it reaches Wedge Island by any means.”

Tuesday’s emergency followed an easing of the danger on Monday after a string of fires threatened various areas to the north and south of Perth, on the state’s southwest coast and in the Goldfields.

With very hot weather forecast until at least Sunday, Department of Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Craig Waters said the risk of more fires was high.

“Whenever you come into a period of really hot weather coupled with extremely high easterly winds, we’re always going to be in for a world of hurt,” he said.