Farmer burnt trying to flee bushfire

Farmer burnt trying to flee bushfire

12 February 2007

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Australia — A farmer has suffered third degree burns after trying to flee abushfire near Albany, in Western Australia’s south, early today.

Police said the man crashed his car while trying to escape a fire in thePorongorup National Park, 360km south of Perth, just after midnight (WDT).

He suffered burns to his feet, legs and arms and was flown to Royal PerthHospital for treatment, police said.

The man’s name and age have not been released.

The Porongorup fire, which has so far burned about 500 hectares of bush land,was last night contained.

However, expected strong southeasterly winds could cause the fire to flare upagain today, the Department of Environment and Conservation said.

Although no homes are currently under threat, residents of the small village ofPorongorup were last night advised to activate their fire plans or prepare toevacuate their homes.

Police said 90 per cent of residents decided to stay.

Meanwhile, Emergency Services Minister John Kobelke has officially revoked abushfire emergency period he declared on February 5, which banned the lightingof fires in WA’s south without his permission.

The ban was introduced after a woman died fleeing a bushfire and 16 houses weredestroyed as hundreds of fires burned across the state in late January and earlyFebruary.

The minister said today a reward of up to $200,000 was still on offer forinformation leading to a conviction for arson committed during the emergencybushfire period.

Since Australia Day, 106 emergency service brigades have fought the fires withmore than 550 Department of the Environment and Conservation staff, more than 70Forest Products

Commission staff, 320 Fire and Emergency Services Association (FESA)firefighters and 85 FESA staff, units from 37 local governments and 1000volunteers.

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