Gusty winds cause havoc for crews battling bushfire in Perth’s southern suburbs

Gusty winds cause havoc for crews battling bushfire in Perth’s southern suburbs

04 February 2014

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Australia — Firefighters battling a blaze in Perth’s south-east expect gusting easterly winds to continue through the night.

Crews have managed to contain the bushfire burning across Banjup and Forrestdale, but late on Monday night it was still considered to be out of control.

An emergency warning was downgraded to a watch and act, but authorities say there is still a possible threat to lives and homes.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) says the bushfire is no longer travelling but conditions are changing.

Fire crews continue to strengthen containment lines but aerial support cannot operate in the dark and has ceased. If needed they will return at first light, DFES says.

So far the blaze, which started in the early hours of Monday, has burned nearly 500 hectares of land and there are unconfirmed reports that homes have been damaged.

The watch and act alert affects residents in Banjup, Aubin Grove and Atwell in the City of Cockburn, and Forrestdale in the City of Armadale.

The all clear has been issued for people in Success and Hammond Park.

Earlier, Cathy Nastov from DFES said weather conditions were hampering the efforts of fire crews.

“It’s quite windy out there, we have a very strong easterly [wind] and it’s pushing the fire towards Atwell and Aubin Grove, and towards the Kwinana Freeway,” she said.

DFES said flames had been higher than rooftops in some areas.

A number of roads remained closed late on Monday, including:

 – Liddelow Road between Armadale Road and Oxley Road
 – Taylor Road between Armadale Road and Oxley Road
 – Nicholson Road between Armadale Road and Rowley Road
 – Beenyup Road between Tapper Road and Coffey Road
 – Tapper Road between Beenyup Road and Armadale Road

The bushfire was first reported in the early hours of Monday and was contained, but re-flared in the afternoon.

The blaze started between Taylor Road and Nicholson Road, according to DFES.

A relocation centre for those forced to leave their homes has been moved to Armadale Arena, on the corner of Townley Street and Forrest Road.

Commuters and other residents who were not in the area when the fire took hold are being advised they should not try to return home, but should instead go to the relocation centre.

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