Campers trapped by bushfire

Campers trapped by bushfire

29 December 2006

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Australia — A bushfire has trapped at least eight people on a beach in southern Western Australia, while more than 60 campers were earlier evacuated, emergency services said today.

The Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) says the fire in coastal bushland 80km east of Esperance was reported at 6.30am (WDT) and is believed to have been caused by lightning strikes.

FESA says four firefighters are fighting the blaze, which has so far burned about 250ha of isolated bushland and is uncontained.

Head of ranger services at the Shire of Esperance Rod Hilton said 60 to 70 people camping near the ocean at the end of Alexander Bay Road were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Eight other people in three cars were still on the beach with rangers waiting for safe passage, Mr Hilton said.

“The fire rangers are just about to go and do a trip along the road and determine whether it’s safe for them to go out,” Mr Hilton said.

But he stressed nobody was in danger and no properties were threatened.

“The fire is burning on about a three kilometre front, it’s travelled from farming land,” he said.

“It’s moving towards the coast at this stage and we’re expecting a wind change later on today which will probably run it parallel with the coast, which is why we’re a little bit concerned about our camping sitesthere.”

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