News State Western Australia News Perth firefighters struggle against blaze and the gusty winds driving it

Perth firefighters struggle against blaze and the gusty winds driving it

A bushfire encroaches on homes in Perth. Photo: ABC
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A bushfire in Perth’s southern suburbs that destroyed at least one home on Saturday remains unpredictable, with firefighters attempting to strengthen containment lines overnight.

About 150 firefighters spent the night battling the blaze, which started on Saturday morning near a nature reserve in Oakford, and has so far burnt about 300 hectares.

An emergency warning remains in place for people in an area bounded by Bodeman Road, Kwinana Freeway, Orton Road, King Road, Thomas Road and Nicholson Road in parts of Oakford, Casuarina, Wandi, Wellard, Anketell and Oldbury in the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale and the City of Kwinana.

The blaze started near the Modong Nature Reserve in Oakford, around 35 kilometres south of Perth.

Kwinana Freeway remains closed in both directions between Mortimer Road and Rowley Road, with other major road closures in the area.

While thousands of homes had been without electricity on Saturday afternoon, Western Power reported that number had dropped to 239 overnight.

Services on the Mandurah train line have been restored, after being cancelled between Cockburn Central and Rockingham stations.

In a tweet on Saturday night, the Department of Justice said the fire did not pose a threat to WA’s main maximum-security jail, Casuarina Prison.

However, the Department confirmed on Sunday that morning social visits at the prison had been cancelled, with a decision yet to be made on afternoon visits.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) was unable to confirm any property losses on Saturday, but a house could be seen burning.

It is not known if the property was occupied before the fire started on Saturday.

There have been no reports of injuries.

Evacuation centres at Serpentine-Jarrahdale Recreation Centre, in Byford, and Kwinana Recquatic in Kwinana have now closed.

Gusty winds increase the danger

The Bureau of Meteorology said gusty easterly winds had continued throughout the night, reaching about 50 kilometres per hour.

The bureau’s duty forecaster, Luke Huntington, said conditions were not expected to ease significantly until the afternoon.

“It’s probably going to be at its gustiest this morning,” Mr Huntington said.

“It’ll probably ease right off by the afternoon period, we’ll probably see those wind gusts go right down to only 25 to 30 kilometres an hour.

“But they will probably increase once again later this evening and probably swing around to more of a north-easterly direction.”

Mr Huntington said the area around the fire was forecast to reach a maximum of 35 degrees late in the afternoon.