Fire retardant dropped from an air tanker has helped stop an out-of-control bushfire in Perth’s northeast, but residents are still being told they are in immediate danger.
The massive blaze with a 126km perimeter is moving in a northwesterly direction along the city’s coastal plain after destroying 71 homes in the Perth hills on Monday night.
Residents in the suburbs of Shady Hills View and Bullsbrook – where the RAAF Base Pearce is located – have been told it is too late to leave.
The DFES said people in or around Clenton Road and Berry Road at Gidgegannup also need to shelter in place or actively defend only if they are prepared to the highest level.
Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services Superintendent Peter Sutton said firefighters had worked through the night to defend properties.
He said retardant dropped by an air tanker had helped protect the Shady Hills area.
“We had a number of properties which became under threat overnight,” he told reporters on Thursday morning.
“The Shady Hills area was one of our biggest concerns, and the fire ran up the Avon Ridge, Avon Valley there into Shady Hills and was successfully stopped by the retardant line that we dropped yesterday.
“The large air tanker dropped 11 loads yesterday and a total of 200,000 litres of retardant.”
Mr Sutton said strong easterly winds were again expected over the fireground on Thursday, “which will still test those boundaries on the western and northern side”.
“We expect there to be some concerns today, so we ask members of the public to be vigilant,” he said.
“We ask everyone, all members of the public, to please remain vigilant. This is going to be a long-duration incident. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Premier Mark McGowan said WA was enduring an unprecedented crisis.
“We’re facing disasters on two fronts – the devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said on Wednesday, referring to a five-day lockdown for metropolitan Perth, the Peel region and the South West.
“The fire has devastated our community. We know that 71 homes have been lost and that number is expected to rise.”