Bushfire emergency warning issued to Harvey residents with homes, lives under threat
A suspicious fire has torn through bushland just north of Bunbury’s outer suburb of Leschenault this evening, causing a plume of smoke to fill the horizon and prompting an emergency alert for people in the Shire of Harvey.
The fire was first reported near Forrest Highway and Wellesley Road in Binningup just after 4.30pm.
More than 50 firefighters and Parks and Wildlife staff across 40 appliances have joined water bombers to try to control the blaze throughout the afternoon and evening.
The emergency zone has been put in place for an area bounded by Treasure Road, Wellesley Road North and Old Coast Road north of Kemerton and encompassed the Kemerton Power Station.
People in the area have been told they’re in danger and need to act immediately to survive as there is a threat to lives and homes.
Concerns are held for lives and homes in the area of Ridgeview Way, Papalia Court and Plantation Outlook.
A temporary evacuation centre has been set up at Leschenault Leisure Centre in Australind.
People who live in the emergency warning area are urged to leave in a south easterly direction.
The alert level for the fire was upgraded to emergency just before 6pm due to an increase in fire behaviour, when more than 40 hectares had burned as the fire began moving fast in a north easterly direction.
By 9pm, about 200ha had been burnt and the fire remained uncontained and uncontrolled.
WHAT TO DO:
- If the way is clear, leave now for a safer place.
- Do not wait and see, leaving at the last minute is deadly.
- Close all doors and windows and turn off evaporative air conditioners, but keep water running through the system if possible.
- If you cannot leave, you need to get ready to shelter in your home.
- Go to a room in your home away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.
- Choose a room with two exits and water such as a kitchen or laundry.
- If you are not at home, it’s too dangerous to return.
Those just to the north of the emergency zone, in an area bounded by Runnymede Road, Wellesley Road North and Rhodes Road have been placed on a watch and act warning.
People in the area have been told there is a possible threat to lives and homes as the fire was pushing north and the conditions were changing.
People in the locality of Uduc took to social media to report ash falling at their property, while another woman offered accommodation for pets.
People are asked to report any suspicious behaviour to Police Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
WHAT TO DO:
- If you are not prepared or you plan to leave, leave now if the way is clear.
- If you are well prepared and plan to actively defend your home, make final preparations now.
- If you plan to stay and actively defend, do not rely on mains water pressure as it may be affected. You need to have access to an independent water supply, and start patrolling your property to put out spot fires.
- At all times close all doors and windows and turn off evaporative air conditioners, but keep water running through the system if possible.
- If you are not at home, do not try to return as conditions in the area could be very dangerous.
The deliberately lit blaze comes less than two weeks after the Shire of Harvey marked Four years ago this month a deadly blaze destroyed 181 homes and claimed two lives in Yarloop in the Shire of Harvey.
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