If you were planning to head towards Margaret River this weekend, the message from authorities is please don’t.
The warning comes as a massive out-of-control bushfire continues to burn in the state’s southwest region, ripping through more than 6000 hectares of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Incident controller Brad Barton told a community meeting in the town centre on Thursday evening that people should avoid the region.
Firefighters battling a major bushfire in Western Australia’s renowned Margaret River region have made good progress but the blaze remains uncontained.
The fire has ripped through more than 6000 hectares in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park over the past two days.
Authorities are particularly worried about properties on the eastern side of Caves Road as a trough passes through the area from the coast.
Residents were urged to leave on Thursday as more than 150 firefighters battled to strengthen containment lines in hot and windy weather.
Conditions have since improved and it is believed there has been no loss of property despite the fire remaining uncontrolled.
“We’ve made some very good progress overnight … it is slightly cooler than yesterday down here in Margaret River,” incident controller Brad Barton said on Friday.
“Our priorities are to build on our containment strategies along these eastern boundaries, to tie the fire into the national park and prevent further impact out into the private property areas.”
An evacuation centre remains open in Margaret River.
WA’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services said increased bushfire behaviour was expected on Friday as the temperature climbed, producing more smoke in the area.
Commissioner Darren Klemm described the situation as “extremely serious”.
“A number of properties are under threat on or about Caves Road,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“The safest option for people in this area is always to leave early. Don’t wait until the last minute.
“Strong winds, cave systems and (lack of) access for machinery are making it incredibly difficult to control the bushfires and people need to listen to the warnings that are being placed.”
Premier Mark McGowan urged residents to follow official updates on the blaze.
The bushfire started near the intersection of Caves Road and Calgarup Road in Boranup, almost 300km south of Perth.
WA Police arson squad officers are conducting investigations but Mr Klemm said the cause of the blaze was yet to be determined.
Authorities have downgraded the threat from a separate fire in nearby Yallingup to “watch and act”.
An emergency warning had been in place for people west of Caves Road between Spencer Road and Johnson Road.
The fire is moving slowly in a southeasterly direction but is not contained or controlled.
Mr Klemm said the Yallingup bushfire had originated at a house which was believed to have sustained some damage.