At least three homes have been destroyed and two firefighters injured as an out-of-control bushfire rages in a small Western Australian town.
More than 500 firefighters have been battling the 1700 hectare blaze in Wooroloo in Perth’s northeast but it has yet to be brought under control.
The Perth Hills fire has been so “out of control” that crews were yet to start work on containing the blaze by late Monday night.
So far, the top priority of Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services has been to get ahead of the fire and prevent as many homes as possible from being consumed by the ferocious flames.
“At the moment we’re focusing on protecting assets, we’re not even trying to put the thing out,” Todd Bender from the DFES told the ABC.
DFES Incident controller Murray McBride said three houses were believed to be destroyed and one fire truck incinerated.
He said two firefighters were also injured, suffering minor burns but were continuing to help fight the blaze, which has so far burned through more than 1700 hectares of land.
“It’s very difficult for the crews to control,” Mr McBride said.
“This is a fast-moving fire. Don’t think you can stay home and defend this fire.”
- This story is being updated on Tuesday morning but conditions can change rapidly so for latest emergency alerts click here
He said the DFES has been receiving reports of people “just driving around the roads”.
“Please listen to our warnings,” he urged.
DFES expanded the warning area on Tuesday, telling residents in Brigadoon to flee if the way was clear to the west, while others on nearby O’Brien Road were told it was too late to leave.
“You must shelter before the fire arrives, as the extreme heat will kill you well before the flames reach you,” the warning said.
Assistant fire commissioner Craig Waters said on Monday afternoon that it was unlikely the blaze would be contained “with the current weather conditions and the current fire behaviour”.
The bushfire was unpredictable and weather conditions were rapidly changing, the warning said, urging people to stay vigilant.
An emergency warning for the blaze is in place for parts of Wooroloo, Bailup, Gidgegannup, Wundowie, and Walyunga National Park.
Firefighters are battling the blaze with aerial support and a number of roads have been closed.
An evacuation centre has been set up at Brown Park Recreation Complex on Amherst Road in Swan View.
Wooroloo falls into the Perth Metropolitan area which is subject to a five-day lockdown due to a COVID-19 community outbreak.
DFES said anyone forced to leave their homes should wear a mask and continue to follow precautions, including maintaining appropriate physical distancing.