A bushfire threatening communities north of Perth worsened overnight on Thursday after the area came under ember attack, with an emergency warning remaining in place on Friday for a third straight day.
People in the community of Two Rocks, about 60 kilometres north of Perth, are being warned of a threat to lives and homes and are urged to act immediately to survive.
The warning is in effect for people in the Two Rocks townsite and those in northern parts of Yanchep, north of Yanchep Beach Road, in the City of Wanneroo.
About 220 firefighters have battled the blaze overnight and water bombing operations will again tackle the fire today, but it remained uncontrolled and uncontained after first flaring on Wednesday.
The fire has been fuelled by heatwave conditions that brought temperatures across Perth nudging 40 degrees on Thursday, with similarly high temperatures to continue through to Sunday.
It has so far burnt through more than 2600 hectares of bushland, tearing through Yanchep National Park and severely damaging a petrol station as well as a house on the same property late on Wednesday.
Helicopter footage from the scene showed structures on fire at the petrol station, including surrounding vehicles.
Helpful wind conditions could turn dangerous
Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Terry Sheehan said the fire remained a serious threat.
“The fire has actually taken quite a decent run towards the coast during the night and has burnt across the north side of Two Rocks to the ocean, and Two Rocks townsite itself has come under quite a severe ember attack,” he said.
Incident controller Guy Baxter said a change in the wind helped fire crews keep the flames away from homes on Friday morning, but the wind was likely to complicate the fire fight later in the day and again this afternoon.
“It appears that it’s been held up,” he said.
“The wind has been quite favourable the last couple of hours, which means that we’ve been able to make some inroads into mitigating any further risk around that part of Two Rocks.
“The wind is going to be tricky over the next few hours and then it will stabilise towards lunchtime.
“Then we’ve got the potential southerlies coming in after lunch which could give us some grief but we’re just starting to plan for that now.”
People in the area are advised to leave now in a southerly direction along Two Rocks Road.
A bushfire watch and act alert has also been issued for people in an area of neighbouring Yanchep and Eglinton bounded by Yanchep Beach Road to the north, the coast to the west, Pipidinny Road to the south and Wanneroo Road and Indian Ocean Drive to the east.
People in the Breakwater and Seatree estates, which were both placed under emergency warning on Thursday, are being told if they plan to leave they can do so in an easterly direction along Breakwater Drive and then go north or south on Indian Ocean Drive.
If people south of Yanchep Beach Road and in Eglinton plan to leave, they should travel in a southerly direction.
An evacuation centre have been set up at the Gumblossom Community Centre on Tapping Way in Quinns Rocks, where 35 people spent the night last night.
Yanchep National Park remains closed on Friday.
The following schools and childcare centres have been closed:
- Two Rocks Primary School
- Atlantis Beach Baptist College
- Cuddles Child Care Centre in Breakwater Estate
The Department of Education is encouraging parents to keep children home from the following schools on Friday due to fire activity and possible road closures in the Yanchep area:
- Yanchep Secondary College
- Yanchep Lagoon Primary School
- Yanchep Beach Primary School