The state level 3 incident management team is also on the ground alongside police, ambulance, SES, the Department of Communities and local council representatives.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services deputy incident controller Greg Muir described the “very fragile situation” firefighters faced as they entered the worst fire weather in recent days.
He said the forecast was for increasing and continuing east/north-easterly winds over the next couple of days in the morning and rising temperatures, with no increase in relative humidity overnight.
“So for us as fireys, a lot of dry air around and not much overnight cooling or moisture going by the vegetation out there,” Mr Muir said.
“From a fire perspective, that weather is not in our favour by any stretch but we continue to do very hard, hot work on the fireground.”
Crews have been managing fire lines but spot fires not visible to the naked eye have been dotted throughout, with air support having to use thermal infrared cameras to detect hot spots.
Mr Muir said there wasn’t a lot of smoke and flames visible, but “it’s not over”.
“We’re still days out of woods of this fire and it’s really not until probably Monday when we get a bit of a trough movement and the wind starts to hold a bit more in the south-west,” he said.
Although a 20-30km/h seabreeze has been forecast for 3pm and tomorrow afternoon, how far it penetrated inland remained to be seen, Mr Muir said.
“So it would push any risk of fire away from the area, where we are [in Guilderton] and the two subdivisions that have been of significant interest to us,” he said.
“And that would be good news if they would persist but the fact is that we’re going back to this easterly influence over the next couple of days.”
Mr Muir said while DFES was “acutely” aware of people wanting to return to their homes, the main priority was to keep people safe.
“That’s the dilemma we’re dealing with and is holding us back from allowing everyone back into their homes and reopening travel routes,” Mr Muir said.
“Until we can get through this hot spell and the winds settle down into something more favourable we’re really not in a position to open up and get everything back to normal.”
Lancelin residents were on a watch and act alert “to reflect the pressure they could be under should there be a breakout”.
“It’s a real waiting and watching game for us now with the weather,” Mr Muir said.
An evacuation centre has been set up at the Guilderton Country Club but pets are not permitted.
Lancelin police Sergeant Michael Paterson told a community meeting at centre anyone leaving from an area with road closures would not be permitted to return.
The following roads are closed:
- Indian Ocean Drive at Wedge Island Road
- Indian Ocean Drive at Lancelin Road
- K.W. Road at Indian Ocean Drive
- Cowalla Bridge at Orange Springs Road
- Orange Springs Road at Brand Highway
- Mimegarra Road
- Indian Ocean Drive at Cervantes Road
- Indian Ocean Drive south of Cervantes Road is open to local traffic only needing to go as far south as Wedge Island.
- Indian Ocean Drive is closed to all traffic south of Wedge Island and north of the Lancelin turn-off.
Smoke is impacting Brand Highway between Regans Ford and Cataby Roadhouse.
People camping in the area of Wedge Island or nearby coastal areas have been told to leave and relocate to a safer place by heading north along Indian Ocean Drive.
Most fire crews have been battling blazes across the state since Saturday, with strike crews from the Goldfields-Midlands and Mid-West Gascoyne having to be brought in to relieve some fighters. There are futher plans to call upon crews from lower South West and Great Southern regions.
Airtankers carried out several drops on Wednesday to put out spot fires and help firefighters battle a couple of hop-overs, where the fire escaped containment lines.
When Mr Muir left Gingin this morning, there was a very strong and hot easterly blowing over the fire ground and a lot of hot air inland.
So far there has been no damage to residences, with only the loss of a farmhouse’s outshed, a pine plantation managed by the Forest Products Commission, and agricultural pasture and fencing.
A separate bushfire broke out near Indian Ocean Drive, in Yanchep, about an hour south of the Ocean Farms and Seaview Park blaze, just after 2pm.
Aerial footage captured by Nine News Perth of the fire, which is in close proximity to Yanchep Pine Plantation, shows trees engulfed by flames and thick plumes of black smoke.
A watch and act is in place for Indian Ocean Drive, Yanchep Pine Plantation and Yeal Nature Reserve with DFES warning they might be a possible threat to lives and homes.
The fire, which has torn through 200 hectares, started near the intersection of Wapet Road nad Cockatoo Road and is moving fast in a north-westerly direction.
In Perth’s south, a structure fire that broke at 12pm in the City of Rockingham has been extinguished by fire crews.
The cause remains unknown of the fire at Hokin Street, near the intersection of Safety Bay Road, in Waikiki.
Due to the severe fire weather conditions forecast, the following national and regional parks have been closed:
- Serpentine National Park until 8.30am Sunday, January 10
- Walyunga National Park until 8am Sunday, January 10
- John Forrest National Park until 8.30am Sunday, January 10
- Avon Valley National Park until midday Monday, January 11
- Mundy Regional Park until 8.30am Sunday, January 10
- Wungong Regional Park until 8.30am Sunday, January 10
- The Goat Farm mountain bike park until 8.30am, Sunday January 10
- Pinjar and Gnangara off-road vehicle areas until 8am Monday, January 11
- Hoffman Mill located in the Shire of Harvey is closed until further notice.
Aja Styles is a digital culture editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Marta is an award-winning photographer and journalist with a focus on social justice issues and local government.
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