Bushfire destroys more WA homes

Bushfiredestroys more WA homes

13 February 2007

published by www.thewest.com.au

Australia — Firecrews have contained a fire that destroyed two homes near Porongurup last night.

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) said the fire jumpedcontainment lines early yesterday evening and razed two houses on farmland eastof the Porongurup townsite.

Strong south-west winds pushed the fire onto the properties, one of which wasunder construction, about 6pm.

“We actually got hold of the fire the night before and had it prettywell contained,” DEC spokesman Peter Bidwell said. “We were stillback-burning but then the sea breezes came through and the fire escaped.”

More than 200 firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control and thefire is now contained in the Surrey Downs area.

More than 200 DEC personnel and volunteer firefighters have begun backburningin the south-east corner of the park to consolidate containment lines. They arebeing assisted by favourable south-east winds.

The bushfire has burned more than 4800ha of national park and privateproperty since it began on Sunday.

Mr Bidwell said favourable conditions meant the fire was now under control.

The department is advising residents that the immediate threat to thePorongurup townsite and nearby residences and farmland had lessened, but peopleshould should be vigilant for embers that may have dropped in unburnt sectionsand unstable trees.

“We have favourable, light winds today and we hope to be able to get itall mopped up in the coming days,” he said.

Evacuation centres were made available in Albany and Mount Barker, however MrBidwell said most people chose to stay and defend their homes.

Many residents have had difficulty communicating, with telephone lines downand limited mobile coverage in the area.

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