Residents evacuated and homes feared lost as bushfires bear down on WA townships


Residents in the path of an out-of-control bushfire have been ordered to flee and there are fears homes have been lost as a rapidly escalating bushfire bore down on a small Western Australian town.

People from Bridgetown, in the southwest, were urged to leave and the local hospital and aged care home were evacuated on Saturday afternoon when conditions changed for the worse.

However it was too late for residents to escape the nearby township of Hester as they were warned the incoming bushfire posed an immediate threat to homes and lives.

WA emergency services issued an emergency warning to the 100 or so residents of Hester, urging them to seek shelter before the fire arrived.

“It’s too late to leave, leaving now would be deadly,” Emergency WA said.

“You need to shelter in your home in a room away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.

“You must shelter before the fire arrives, as the extreme heat will kill you well before the flames reach you.”

BREAKING: Bridgetown Hospital has been evacuated as a bushfire rages towards the southwest town. Hundreds of firefighters are battling the blaze and a second near Denmark. Extreme conditions making things very difficult for fire crews. @7NewsPerth

— Ben Downie (@Ben_Downie) February 5, 2022

The weather bureau said temperatures in Bridgetown soared to 41 degrees on Saturday, adding to the danger, but would ease to a top of 27 degrees on Sunday.

Department of Fire and Emergency Service’s duty commissioner Rick Curtis said there were reports of bushfires burning properties to the north and and north-east of the town.

“It is likely that there is impacts to property in Bridgetown,” Mr Curtis told the ABC.

“It’s still a moving feast, and very dynamic, we’re a long way from being out of the woods.

“As the fire continues to escalate, providing information to residents [about impacted properties] takes time.

“While I understand that’s incredibly frustrating when you don’t know if your property is impacted or not … community meetings and talking to our staff are the quickest way of finding that out.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan on Saturday said multiple areas in the state continued to face “dangerous bushfire conditions with more hot weather forecast today and tomorrow”.

The premier thanked firefighters for their efforts over the week and urged the public to follow advice from Emergency WA.

Denmark, Western Australia. 3 hours north, in Bridgetown, residents jumped in river to escape fire. In Perth there’s fires in the Hills, east & south. This is awful. Hoping for the best for firefighters & communities. When we get through this can we pls talk about climate change.

— Jess Panegyres (@Jess_Panegyres) February 5, 2022

Saturday’s late emergency warning was issued for the southwest region after a change in weather conditions.

The out-of-control fire was fast-moving and tracking south-easterly.

Aerial firefighting support will return at first light as needed.

Separately another bushfire warning remains in place for Denmark shire in the north-west of the state where residents were told: “You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. There is a threat to lives and homes.”

People living in nearby of Shadforth, William Bay, Scottsdale, Parryville, Ocean Beach, Kentdale and Kordabup should evacuate the area immediately if they have not done so.

“Variable wind behaviour continues to bring unpredictable fire conditions to the area,” WA Emergency said.

Bridgetown transmitter is current reported down and not broadcasting due to the power outage.
Wind looks to have swung around from the SSE of all directions – (Wildfires produce their own weather)#Bridgetown #Denmark #WAfires#Australia #Bushfire #Bushfires

📸 getty images

— Michael Barthel (@RealMiBaWi) February 5, 2022

Meanwhile an evacuation centre has been set up as the basketball stadium in Manjimup, about three hours south of Perth.

People required to quarantine should make other arrangements. If this is not possible, they can still head to the centre and notify staff when they arrive.

Pets are not permitted at the centre unless they are assistance animals, but those unable to make other arrangements should make their way to the centre and follow directions.

-with AAP

The post Residents evacuated and homes feared lost as bushfires bear down on WA townships appeared first on The New Daily.

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