Fire crews battle Esperance fires

Fire crews battle Esperance fires

22 December 2008

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Australia — Fire fighters continue to battle several bush fires near Esperance but their spread has been contained and they don’t pose a threat to people or property, FESA said.

Fire crews are developing firebreaks between Cape Le Grand and Hellfire Bay to minimise the risk of flare-ups after a series of blazes started in the area on Saturday

At least six fires have started during the past few days, with Environment Department officers managing blazes at Peak Charles National Park, Hellfire Bay and Dunn Rock in Cape Le Grand National Park.

Local fire brigades and FESA are managing fires at Stockyards, Wartons and a 400ha fire in the Dunn Rock area.

Incident controller Klaus Tiedeman said the department’s major responsibility was the bush fire in the Cape Le Grand National Park near Hellfire Bay, which has burnt 1000ha after two fires united.

The fire is burning in 40-year-old vegetation within a zone bordered by Cape Le Grand Road, Lucky Bay Road and Hellfire Road.

On Saturday, a firebreak was successfully created to separate the Hellfire Bay Day use site from fire.

The parks have been closed to visitors and forced families and individuals who were camping in the area to find alternative accommodation.

About 240 campers were forced to evacuate the Cape Le Grand National Park
Pink Lake Tourist Park owner Greg Cole said while he was not forced to evacuate his guests or staff, he did provide accommodation to people forced to flee their camping sites.

“Two or three lots of people came in and one family who were camping,” Mr Cole said.

“If it had been a week later it would have been a real problem (to find space for them).”

Other local tourist accommodation operators also experienced an influx of visitors.

While people are banned from travelling along roads in the Cape Le Grand Park, 55 campers have opted to stay at campsites at Cape Le Grand and Lucky Bay.

If either campground is threatened by fire, refuge areas for campers are available on the beach at both sites.

Both areas are easy to access and the Le Grand Beach refuge area is 100m wide while the Lucky Bay refuge spot is 30m wide.

Further north, a fire at Peak Charles National Park remains uncontained and the park has been closed.

Crews will focus on constructing a fire line around the fire, which has currently burnt about 1500ha.

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