Hot, dry, windy weather to test containment lines as Gingin fire burns for almost a week

About 150 volunteer and career firefighters, along with Parks and Wildlife fire services and Forest Products Commission personnel are at the scene, patrolling the fire perimiter with aerial support providing backup.

A community meeting will be held at 11am on Friday at the Guilderton Country Club on Wedge Street.

The fire has burnt through 9900 hectares since first igniting about 9.30am on Saturday, January 2.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services deputy incident controller Greg Muir on Thurdsay 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 coming days in the morning and rising temperatures, with no increase in relative humidity overnight.

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“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,” he said.

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 was not much smoke or flame visible, but “it’s not over”.

“We’re still days out of the 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.

Mr Muir said while DFES was “acutely” aware of people wanting to return to their homes, the main priority was to keep people safe.

“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,” he said.

Lancelin, Ledge Point and Karakin residents were on a watch and act alert as of Friday morning.

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 the centre on Thursday anyone leaving from an area with road closures would not be permitted to return.

The following roads are closed:

  • K.W. Road at Indian Ocean Drive.
  • Cowalla Bridge at Orange Springs Road.
  • Orange Springs Road at Brand Highway.
  • Brand Highway at Intersection of Gingin Brook Road – vehicles can proceed west along Gingin Brook Road to Indian Ocean Drive.
  • Brand Highway at the Intersection of Cataby Road.
  • Brand Highway is closed to trucks from the Intersection of Brand Highway and North West Road, but heavy haulage and trucks can proceed through North West Road to Midland Road.
  • Brand Highway at the intersection of Mimegarra Road and Brand Highway.
  • Access roads to Ocean Farms and Seaview Park remain closed.

Light vehicles can head west on Mimegarra Road and Meadows Road to Indian Ocean Drive, and Indian Ocean Drive is open to light vehicles only.

The fire is not contained or controlled, but crew have managed to bring hopovers under control and are strengthening containment lines.

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 further plans to call upon crews from lower South West and Great Southern regions.

Air tankers 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.

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.

The fire has burned through 100 hectares of land in Yanchep. Credit:Nine News Perth

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 2700 hectares, started near the intersection of Wapet Road and Cockatoo Road in Yeal.

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.

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