“Incredibly frightening” Forrestdale bushfire continues

Firefighters had at work battling the Forrestdale fires on Friday. Photo: Bruce Hunt. d490701 communitypix.com.au
Firefighters had at work battling the Forrestdale fires on Friday. Photo: Bruce Hunt. d490701 communitypix.com.au

SCORES of residents through Forrestdale, Harrisdale and Piara Waters were forced to flee as bushfire tore through the area on Thursday and Friday.

Fuelled by strong, gusty wind there were 120 career, volunteer and bushfire firefighters still battling the flames on Friday afternoon, more than 24 hours after it began.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said more than 150 hectares had been burnt as of 1.30pm Friday afternoon, with firefighters saving a number of homes in the area.

The dangerous conditions forced the evacuation of Stockland Harrisdale Shopping Centre and Forrestdale Primary School on Thursday afternoon, as well as the closure of Forrestdale PS, Harrisdale PS, Harrisdale Senior High School and John Bosco College on Friday.

Harrisdale residents Chrystal Clark and Alexandra Long were among those who evacuated their homes on Thursday night.

Ms Long said the ordeal had been “incredibly frightening”.

“We made the decision to evacuate following advice from DFES, we had no real means to actively defend if need be so it was the safest call to make,” she said.

“I left with my husband and two sons who are six-years-old and three-years-old and we also had two dogs and a snake to get out as well.

“It was really overwhelming trying to get all essentials together, plan a route out and keep up with the latest news from DFES, all whilst looking around the house and wondering if this is the last time I’d see it.”

156 hectares had been burnt as of Friday afternoon. Photo: Bruce Hunt.

Ms Clark said the constant updates had helped her make the decision to leave.

“All the updates have been really good and there has been lots of communications via the Harrisdale chat page, Heron Park Facebook page and the news,” she said.

“We went for a drive to see how close the fires were to our house but when we got home the smoke had really picked up.

“Because we have a four-year-old with asthma we decided to go to family just in case.

“When we left our estate though you could definitely feel the panic in the streets.”

Firefighters hard at work on Friday morning. Photo: Bruce Hunt.