WA town’s residents defy fire evacuation

by admin on June 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Around 40 residents have chosen to remain in the “undefendable” township of Northcliffe, which is in the path of an out-of-control bushfire.


The town in West Australia’s far south is under imminent threat from fire and it is not safe to stay and defend, authorities say.

Householders have been urged to leave to the north towards Pemberton with most of Northcliffe’s 600 residents evacuated.

About 240 firefighters and 60 support personnel are battling the blaze that has burnt 25,000 hectares since it was sparked by lightning at Shannon National Park on Friday.

Shire of Manjimup president Wade DeCampo told AAP an unoccupied house owned by former councillor, the late Tom Fahey, has been lost in the fire.

A southerly wind change on Tuesday evening put Northcliffe directly in the path of the blaze, with the front only five kilometres away.

Despite the emergency warning, some locals chose to stay put, indicating they would defend their properties, Mr DeCampo said.

He urged residents not to leave it too late to evacuate.

“People won’t believe it will hit the town,” Mr DeCampo said.

“It’s their home, it’s their castle, they’re willing to risk their lives.”

Northcliffe Hotel publican Steve McGavin told AAP he took his two grandchildren to the Pemberton evacuation centre after police told him to evacuate.

Mr McGavin said the family was now heading to Margaret River to be with the children’s mother rather than spend another night on bunk beds.

He said the town had faced fires before but they’d never been told to evacuate.

Mr DeCampo said the windshift meant the next 12 hours would be critical for emergency services.

“They cannot see an end point to this fire,” he said.

Residents are being told the fire could burn up to 100,000 hectares and Pemberton – the current evacuation meeting point – may also have to be evacuated.

DFES says the fire is moving at more than 500 metres an hour with spot fires starting up to 100 metres ahead of the front.

More than 100 Victorian firefighters have been flown to WA to help tackle the blaze.

Bridgetown catteries and dog kennels are providing free housing for the pets of people who have evacuated, while the local brigade is collecting livestock from paddocks.

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