People have been forced to flee their homes as an accidentally-lit bushfire that has been burning for days rapidly encroaches on areas north of Perth.
An emergency warning is in place for parts of Regans Ford, Red Gully, Cowalla, Moore River National Park, Nilgen, Mimegarra, Karakin, Yathroo, Orange Springs, Lancelin and Ledge Point in the Shires of Gingin and Dandaragan.
“Residents of Oceans Farms Estate must leave now via Indian Ocean Drive,” the Department of Fire and Emergency Services warned in an alert on Tuesday afternoon.
“Your life will be in danger if you stay. Do not wait and see, leaving at the last minute is deadly.”
DFES also warned there was a broader threat to lives and homes in those two shires as firefighters continued to battle the blaze, which has burnt about 2000 hectares since it started on Saturday.
“You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive,” DFES said.
“The alert level for this fire has been upgraded as the bushfire is moving quickly.”
The blaze started near the intersection of Mogumber Road West and the Brand Highway in Red Gully.
It is not contained or controlled, and remains unpredictable.
WA Premier Mark McGowan wished everyone the best “during a very difficult day”.
“There is a fire raging up there that is of great concern,” he told reporters.
“I thank the firefighters — career and volunteer — for all of their work, and request everyone in that area listen to the advice, listen to the warnings and follow the instructions.”
The Premier also revealed WA had secured a large aerial tanker that would fly in from Victoria later on Tuesday.
“So we’ll have two large aerial tankers working on that fire,” he said.
Anyone in the fire zone who is self-isolating due to COVID-19 has been warned to find alternative accommodation with family or friends and advise police.
“Regardless of your location, continue to follow COVID-19 precautions and maintain appropriate physical distancing,” DFES said.
A watch and act alert is also in place for parts of Wedge Island, Mimegarra, Nilgen and Cooljarloo.
“The alert level for this fire has been upgraded as the bushfire has jumped containment lines,” DFES warns.
“There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a fire is burning in the area and the conditions are changing.”
DFES further warned burning embers were likely to be blown around homes and spot fires were starting up to 200 metres ahead of the blaze.
There is also ash and dust blowing over the fireground, reducing visibility along the Brand Highway.
Several roads have been closed, including a section of Indian Ocean Drive and parts of Orange Springs Road West.
There is no access to Lancelin for those wanting to travel to the holiday spot, but anyone leaving Lancelin can go in a southerly direction via Indian Ocean Drive.
“Motorists are asked to avoid the area, reduce speed and drive carefully due to smoke,” DFES said.
The Department of Communities has set up an evacuation centre at the Guilderton Country Club.