An out-of-control bushfire is threatening lives and homes at Waroona in Western Australia, with up to three properties believed to be damaged so far.
The blaze has entered the town, which is about 100km south of Perth, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has warned it is moving fast in a north-westerly direction.
Embers are likely to be blown around homes, starting spot fires.
It is too late for people to try to leave, and residents have been urged to seek shelter indoors and actively defend their homes.
DFES duty assistant commissioner Chris Arnol said efforts were focussed on preventing the spread of the fire and the damage has not yet been assessed.
“I’ll have an assessment team out at daylight and we’ll have aircraft up at daylight as well but I understand there is two to three homes that may have been damaged, I’m not sure what the condition is yet,” he said.
“The head fire has gone into Lyons Road and firefighters have been fighting fires there for the last hour just to make sure that they can try to hold the fire.
“Around the top and the bottom of the town is grass land, we should be able to hang on to the fire there.
“But at the moment we’ve gone to defensive property protection on the rural urban interface using those defensive tactics to protect property.”
About 50 people have taken shelter in the Waroona town hall, however the evacuation centre is being moved to the town hall in nearby Harvey.
A community meeting will be held in Harvey at 10am (AWST).
There are 150 career and volunteer firefighters battling the blaze, which was started by lightning early on Friday morning.
South West Highway is closed between the intersection of Mayfield Road to the north of Waroona and Willowdale Road to the south.
South West Highway is closed to all traffic entering Waroona however vehicles can still leave the area.
Telephone text and voice messages have been issued to people living in the town.
DFES had advised people who have stayed to defend their homes to get to a room away from the fire front with two exits and running water.
If their home catches fire, residents are being warned to get out to an area of land that has already been burned.