News State Western Australia News Bushfire emergency continues north of Perth as firefighters brace for worsening conditions

Bushfire emergency continues north of Perth as firefighters brace for worsening conditions

The blaze began in the Red Gully area on Saturday and has burnt through 9,500 hectares of land. Photo: Supplied: DFES/Evan Collis
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An emergency warning remains in place in the shires of Gingin and Dandaragan, north of Perth, as a bushfire continues to threaten lives and homes.

Residents of Ocean Farms Estate and Seaview Park are being warned to remain on high alert and enact their bushfire survival plan, with concern over potential wind changes and very hot and dry conditions forecast for the next few days.

Firefighters have spent another night working against gusty north-easterly winds to maintain containment lines around the fire.

Crews will reassess the situation today and work to ensure the fire is safe before people are allowed back into the affected zone.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Superintendent Craig Garrett said the forecast hot and windy weather conditions would put more pressure on firefighters.

“There’s potential for fires in any location when you have weather like we’ve got [today]. North-easterlies, 40 [kilometre per hour winds] gusting 50 kph and a strong sea breeze and 39 degrees Celsius,” he said.

“Those sort of conditions make controlling a fire very difficult.”

Temperatures in the area are set to nudge 40 degrees Celsius today before it gets even hotter tomorrow. Photo: DFES/Evan Collis

The temperature in the area is set to surge past 40C tomorrow.

An infrared aerial line scan of the blaze by emergency crews this morning has already picked up more hotspots along the fire’s edge.

The emergency warning covers Ocean Farms Estate, Seaview Park and surrounding areas in parts of Regans Ford, Nilgen, Mimegarra, Karakin and Orange Springs.

Concern over afternoon sea breeze

Around 200 firefighters are battling the blaze, which has burnt through 9,500 hectares of land including a pine plantation, farmland and olive groves.

Mr Garrett said a possible sea breeze this afternoon, something that had not been present over the last few days, could cause some problems for firefighters.

“Between 2:00pm and 4:00pm [there’s] a potential sea breeze coming in which could gust up to 40 kph, and that’s a wind direction that we haven’t seen,” he said.

“That will put pressure on the containment lines from a different direction. That could cause an escape as well because we haven’t had those wind conditions previously.”

Mr Garrett said people should stay up to date with the latest bushfire information, warning the situation could change rapidly.

“We ask the public to be vigilant, know their plan, know what they’ll do in the event of a fire and understand that a fire could happen very close to them as well, even if they’re in built-up areas,” he said.

Residents still in Oceans Farms Estate and Seaview Park have been advised to leave if it is safe to do so in a southerly direction along Indian Ocean Drive to the evacuation centre at Guilderton Country Club.

A community meeting will be held at 11:00am at the evacuation centre.

A watch and act warning is in place for Wedge Island, with anyone camping there urged to leave for a safer place.

The blaze began in the Red Gully area on the weekend and an initial emergency warning on Saturday was downgraded later that same day, but strong winds have blown the fire out of control this week.

-ABC