Bushfires have ravaged Perth’s northeastern suburbs destroying 71 homes, leading the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to announce a Total Fire Ban (TFB) on Wednesday for areas throughout the state.
The bushfire which prompted the fire ban was started in the suburb of Wooroloo and was first reported on Monday, but the cause still remains unknown. According to the DFES, the blaze covers more than 8,000 hectares with 250 firefighters and fire appliances on-site working to control the flames.
The flames have destroyed 71 properties, and the number is expected to increase as authorities continue to assess the damage.
At his press conference on Tuesday, Premier Mark McGowan called the conditions “extremely volatile” and said that over 2,700 homes and businesses within the Shire of Mundaring and City of Swan are now without power.
No reports of civilian injuries or deaths have been received, but six firefighters have sustained minor injuries.
Commissioner Darren Klemm (AFSM) expressed thanks to the volunteer firefighters for continuing their work despite the challenging conditions.
“Often firefighters were just going from one house to the next house to the next house trying to save them rather than actually putting effort into putting the fire out,” Klemm said. “That takes a significant amount of discipline and it something we should really admire about our operational crew.”
Deputy Incident Controller Greg Mair from the Parks and Wildlife Services has said that it is not over. “The situation with the bushfire is that it remains uncontained and uncontrolled,” he said. “It will be some days before this fire can be made safe with a lot of effort from people on the ground and a lot of patience please from the community.”
The DFES has listed a TFB for suburbs in the Midwest Gascoyne region, Perth Metropolitan region, Goldfields Midlands region, South West Region, Lower South West Region, and Great Southern Region.
Among the list of actions prohibited under the TFB is that vehicles are prohibited from off-road driving where they could contact vegetation. Failure to follow the ban could result in an AU$1,000 (US$763) fine with the possibility of 12 months jail time if convicted.
Bushfire emergency warnings are also in place for parts of the Vines, Bailup, Ellenbrook, Gidgegannup, Millendon, Walyunga National Park, Upper Swan, Aveley, Henley Brook, the Avon Valley national park, Red Hill, Belhus, Baskerville, Herne Hill, Bullsbrook, Wooroloo and Brigadoon.
Residents are advised to stay updated and alert on the situation in their area and can find updated information at the DFES website.