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(PERTH) Bushfire News: Power restored to all but 800 homes, but Western Power warns recovery will last ‘weeks, not days’ and has razed 81-properties to the ground in four days #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Feb.04: People in or around Clenton Road and Berry Road, Gidgegannup AND Shady Hills Estate and East Bullsbrook are in the immediate danger area and it is too late to leave. You must shelter in place, or if you are prepared you must actively defend:

Power restored to all but 800 homes, but Western Power warns recovery will last ‘weeks, not days’ Firefighters are making progress in containing the massive Perth Hills bushfire, which has so far razed 81 properties in four days and more than 10,00 hectares of land.

updated 3h ago

Bushfire advice updated

Here’s the bushfire advice map from 12:10am.

The bushfire emergency warning area currently applies to:

  • AVELEY
  • BAILUP
  • BASKERVILLE
  • BELHUS
  • BRIGADOON
  • BULLSBROOK
  • ELLENBROOK
  • GIDGEGANNUP
  • HENLEY BROOK
  • MILLENDON
  • THE VINES
  • UPPER SWAN
  • WALYUNGA NATIONAL PARK
  • WOOROLOO
  • WUNDOWIE

People in the black shaded areas are advised it is too late to leave and they need to seek shelter immediately.

People in the red shaded areas must leave now if the way is clear. Do not wait and see, as waiting could be deadly.

ROAD CLOSURES AND CONDITIONS:

A number of roads have been closed including:

  • Railway Parade in both directions between Neaves Road and Maralla Road
  • Great Northern Highway in both directions from West Swan Road to Muchea East Road
  • Toodyay Road in both directions between Bunning Road to Bailup Road
  • Weribee Road in both directions from Doys Road  to Linley Valley Road
  • Government Road in both directions from Linley Valley Road to Jason Street
  • Bailup Road in both directions from Burma Road to Government Road
  • Doys Road from Weribee Road to Burma Road
  • McNamara Road between Gaden Road and Weribee Road
  • Burma Road in both directions between Doys and Bailup Road
  • O’Brien Road north of Toodyay Road in both directions including Clenton Road and Berry Road 

Tonkin Highway between Ellenbrook and Brand Highway has reduced speed to 80 kilometres per hour. 

Perth Hills bushfire emergency claims more homes as blaze continues to burn out of control

52s

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 34 seconds
Homes devastated on the eastern flank of the fire, near Gidgegannup.

DFES incident controller Peter Sutton said firefighters had worked tirelessly and their hard work was paying dividends, although large areas remained under emergency warning where the fire was out of control.

“The good news is the fire is 90 per cent tracked,” he told ABC Radio.

Deputy Commissioner Craig Waters said a separate fire, which started 10 kilometres north of the main Wooroloo fire on Thursday afternoon, was “pretty much contained and controlled at this point”.

But he said the Shady Hills area remained at the highest risk of flare-ups due to gusty winds that were forecast to continue overnight.

“Given that we have strong east-south-easterly winds, that whole northern flank and the western side of the fire is going to be put under a fair bit of pressure with expected wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres an hour tonight,” he said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the devastation from the fire was “almost too much to comprehend”.

Mr McGowan said it had been a “bleak couple of days”, but firefighters’ efforts had been a “truly remarkable achievement given the ferocity of the fire”.

Corrugated iron lies on the ground, burnt metal chairs sit on bricks.
The burnt out backyard of a home destroyed in the Perth Hills bushfire.(ABC News: Hugh Sando)

The Premier said the fire threat was far from over, and firefighters would continue to face volatile conditions.

People in the Shady Hills estate, in east Bullsbrook and the Clenton and Berry Road area of Gidgegannup have been advised it is too dangerous to leave and they should shelter in their homes.

Latest updates

For up-to-date information on the Perth Hills fire, check the status on ABC Emergency.

An emergency warning for the bushfire remains in place across a vast area, with lives and homes under threat and strong easterly winds expected to continue tonight.

The emergency warning covers parts of Aveley, Bailup, Baskerville, Belhus, Brigadoon, Bullsbrook, Ellenbrook, Gidgegannup, Henley Brook, Millendon, The Vines, Upper Swan, Walyunga National Park and Wooroloo, in the shires of Mundaring, Chittering and the City of Swan. 

Play Video. Duration: 52 seconds
Number of homes lost in Perth Hills bushfires revised up to 81

More than 10,400 hectares of land have been burnt and the perimeter of the blaze has grown to 136 kilometres, with hundreds of homes evacuated.

Emergency funding for victims

The Premier announced the State Government would provide emergency funding of $4,000 to those whose homes had been destroyed, and $2,000 to those whose homes had been damaged.

Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 2 seconds
The Premier says the bushfire emergency is not over, with lives and homes still under threat.

“Many West Australians are hurting right now,” Mr McGowan said.

“We are all thinking of those who have lost their homes, in some cases their livelihoods, or had serious damage to their property.

“All West Australians are thinking of them at this time. We are all with you.

“We will get through this together.”

Home ‘vaporised’ by wall of flames

One Gidgegannup resident, who did not want to be named, said his bush home was “vaporised” by a huge wall of flames and a storm of embers.

He had planned to stay and defend his property using his 900-litre fire trailer and pump, but decided to evacuate when he realised the ferocity of the blaze.

He said he believed if he had stayed, he would have had zero chance of surviving.

After evacuating his home, the man watched remotely as the live footage on his security cameras showed the fire approaching in the middle of the night.

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 22 seconds
CCTV footage shows the bushfire hitting a farm in Gidgegannup.

The flames turned the darkness into bright light, as trees exploded and embers swirled around his home.

He had chopped down trees around his home and built fire breaks, but said that did nothing to stop the fire.

He said his home was completely destroyed and he lost everything, including chickens and ducks in six pens he had built only months ago.

Water bombers back in air

Winds were so strong earlier today that fixed-wing waterbombing aircraft had to be grounded, but aerial support resumed in the afternoon, before darkness set in.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Commissioner Darren Klemm said three large air tankers had put in lines of retardant ahead of the northern flank of the fire.

A large aerial tanker drops fire retardant over a bushland area.
Three large aerial tankers are now assisting ground based crews fight the Perth Hills bushfire, which has claimed 81 homes so far.(DFES: Aaron Cuthbert)

What to do if bushfire threatensABC Emergency has sourced advice from official agencies on how to plan for a bushfire, including preparing a survival kit.Read more

Mr Klemm said some residents had been escorted to their properties today.

Western Power said about 700 customers remained without power on Thursday evening, down from 1,200 at the start of the day.

However, significant damage to the electricity network meant full restoration of services was unlikely for several weeks.

Two hundred homes saved

Firefighters have so far managed to save around 200 homes, including Wayne Tucker’s.

Mr Tucker had previously been told his 200-acre property at Gidgegannup and the horses and cattle he was forced to leave behind had been wiped out by the fire, but he has since found out that was incorrect.

“We are extremely lucky. We thought we had lost everything,” Mr Tucker said.

The twisted remains of a shed after fire swept through it.
The twisted remains of a shed after the bushfire swept through the Wooroloo area.(ABC News: Hugh Sando)

“We’re very relieved that that is not the case and that our animals are OK and our house is OK.

“These guys [the firefighters] are unbelievable.

“We couldn’t survive in these areas without them.”

But Mr Tucker said he was frustrated and confused as he has been unable so far to obtain a permit to head back out to the property and assess the damage.

Charred remains of a building against a bush backdrop.
The Veska Hills health spa in Worooloo was among businesses and homes destroyed in the bushfire.(ABC News: David Weber)

No more looting: police

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said there had been no further reports of burglaries or looting, after items were allegedly stolen from two evacuated homes in Averley and Red Hill earlier in the week.

The Commissioner also again expressed his support for those impacted by the fires, including members of the police force.

A satellite image of a massive bushfire showing smoke billowing across the land.
A satellite image captured yesterday shows smoke from the bushfire billowing over a massive area.(Supplied: Planet Labs Inc.)

“I reinforce, too, my regret and sincere thoughts for all those people who have lost their homes,” he said.

“I know some of my police officers have also had their properties affected.

“We will continue to support and actively patrol.”

Rain forecast for weekend

Weather conditions continue to be onerous but firefighters are hopeful that rain forecast for Saturday and Sunday may bring some reprieve.

“Everybody can see outside how strong the wind is and that’s the challenge for today and tonight and tomorrow,” Commissioner Klemm said.

“There’s still some ways to go with this fire.

“I’d like to get a bit closer to the weekend to be more confident about the quantum of that rain. 

“Five millilitres won’t necessarily do much for us, but 20 or 30 millilitres over those two days would be fantastic.”

A property that has been flattened by the Wooroloo bushfire is surrounded by burnt trees and scrub.
Damage assessment teams have confirmed the number of homes lost is greater than first thought.(ABC News)

The Bureau of Meteorology said there was a “strong likelihood” that a tropical low that has drenched the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne over the past week would bring welcome rain to aid the firefighting operations on Saturday and Sunday. 

The bureau says how much rain the low generates will hinge on how close it tracks to the coast.

In the meantime, authorities are trying to work through quarantine issues for up to another 100 firefighters from interstate to fly in and offer relief to existing crews.

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 39 seconds
Casey Briggs takes a closer look at the latest fire situation in Perth’s north-east.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Feb.04: 2021:

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