News State Western Australia News Bushfire warning for WA town

Bushfire warning for WA town

Australia can expect more bushfires and extreme heat events. Photo: ABC News
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A bushfire emergency warning has been re-issued for a fire threatening the coastal community of Wedge, west of Grey Road, in the Shire of Dandaragan, about 170 kilometres north of Perth.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said the fire had crossed Indian Ocean Drive, about four kilometres north of Wedge Island.

The fire is out of control and unpredictable, moving in a north-easterly direction, however DFES said the southern section of the fire was moving towards the Wedge area.

A lightning strike sparked the fire in the Lancelin Defence Training Area on Tuesday evening.

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The inaccessible terrain and unexploded ordnance in the area had made it difficult for fire crews to reach the blaze.

Incident controller Gordon Purvis said the weather had made it hard for crews to contain the fire.

“The easterly breeze has been very strong, so they’ve been driving the fire towards the coast and made the fire very, very hard to control in terms of getting in front of the fire,” he said.

“The winds are pushing the fire slowly towards … a huge sand dune on the north side of Wedge Island.”

Mr Purvis said there had been no forced evacuations at the community.

“Wedge Island hasn’t been evacuated but the warnings that went out to the Wedge Island residents were to stay and defend and or leave if they felt inclined to do so,” he said.

“Most have stayed, we’ve defended Wedge Island and that seems to be progressing quite well now in terms of control of that area.”

Mr Purvis said residents who had chosen to stay should stay inside, prepare appropriately and listen to the radio.

Smoke looms on the horizon near Wedge. Photo: Facebook/ABC

“Wind conditions have eased somewhat … we’re getting a fair bit of cloud cover from the cyclone and we’re expecting it to ease and then go to an easterly, which will help our operation this afternoon,” he said.

The blaze has so far burnt through about 14,700 hectares.

About 90 Parks and Wildlife and Bush Fire Service firefighters are on the scene attempting to strengthen containment lines.

Wedge Island is largely made up of holiday shacks and sees scores of people flock to the area in the summer school holidays.

A resident of Lancelin, Kym Illman, said some people had decided to drive from the Wedge settlement along the beach to Lancelin.

“People have started evacuating themselves from Wedge down to Lancelin, which is a not insignificant distance, 30 kilometres along the beach,” he said.

A bushfire watch and act remained in place for people west of Brand Highway, between Meadows Road and Wongonderrah Road to the coast, including the Grey Settlement and surrounding areas, in the shire of Dandaragan.

DFES said this included people on beaches north and south of Wedge Island.

Indian Ocean Drive is closed in both directions between Lancelin and Cervantes.

Nambung National Park, Wanagarren Nature Reserve Wedge Reservve and Grey Reserve recreation areas have been closed.

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