Properties just south of Margaret River are under threat from a fast-moving and out-of-control bushfire raging in the state’s south west.
The blaze was first reported at 10am Wednesday and to 4pm Thursday had burnt through 3200 hectares, mostly in Boranup.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said the cause of the blaze was not yet known, with hot conditions, strong winds and cave systems in the region hampering fire fighting efforts.
“This is a serious fire, let’s make no mistake about that,” he said.
“People in and around Caves Road where the fire is, particularly east of Caves Road, they need to be enacting their bushfire plan right now.”
More than 150 fire fighters are battling the blaze, with an emergency warning zone stretching west of Bussell Highway from Redgate Road to Hamelin Bay.
A number of properties in the rural coastal town are under threat and an evacuation centre has been set up at the Margaret River recreation centre.
Campers have been evacuated and Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park has been closed.
Mr Klemm said he was not aware of any missing people in the fire zone, and that there was no indication the fire had been deliberately lit.
His comments came after Police Commissioner Chris Dawson began talking about a missing man in Margaret River when asked by a journalist on Thursday morning if the blaze was being treated as suspicious.
Mr Dawson later clarified he was not aware of any link between the man and the fire.
Jordan Marshall, 40, was last seen in Margaret River on Wednesday morning. Police hold concerns for his welfare and have asked members of the public to contact police if they are aware of his whereabouts.
Firefighters battled the bushfire throughout the night. Credit:DFES
Premier Mark McGowan said the fires were “very serious and concerning” and confirmed another tanker from New South Wales would be arriving to assist.
“There’s very high fuel loads so it’s obviously burning quite ferociously,” he said.
“It’s potentially going to jump Caves Road later on today and when it does that, or if it does that, it’ll be into a farmland area, that’s in the proximity of more residences as well.
“We’ll have two large aerial tankers here fighting fires so that’s a good resource we share between the states and hopefully that will help contain the fire.”
A tanker has now been bought in from New South Wales to help fight the flames. Credit:Nine News Perth
Mr Klemm advised those planning to travel to the area in the coming days to reconsider their plans, with Caves Road closed between Redgate Road and Bushby Road and visibility in the area low due to smoke.
Conto campground and the Point Road and Boranup campsites are also closed, as is Calgardup Cave, Giants Cave, Boranup Drive, Redgate Beach and the Redgate north carpark. The Cape to Cape track is also closed.
Residents in northern parts of the emergency warning area are able to leave via Bussell Highway in a northerly direction towards the Margaret River Recreation Centre.
Residents in southern parts of the emergency warning area are urged to leave south via Karridale on Brockman Highway and Sues Road to Busselton.
Emergency warning issued in Busselton
A second fire further north has prompted an emergency warning for people travelling along Quininup Road in the City of Busselton.
Firefighters at the scene of the blaze near Margaret River. Credit:DFES
People in the area are urged to leave now for a safer place if the way is clear.
Firefighters are at the scene and some roads may be closed. The bushfire is moving fast in a southerly direction and there is a warning for residents in the area that burning embers were likely to be blown around their homes.
For the latest information, visit emergency.wa.gov.au.
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