Joondalup fire: dried leaves fueled blaze

The Joondalup home badly damaged by fire on Monday.
Joondalup fire: dried leaves fueled blaze
The Joondalup home badly damaged by fire on Monday.

A BUILD-up of leaves and vegetation in a gutter is believed to have provided the fuel for the blaze that razed a Joondalup home during Monday’s frightful bushfire.

A Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) spokeswoman said it caused the fire to take hold of the roof space, leading to the destruction of the property.

In light of the incident, DFES officials have reminded residents to monitor the build-up of debris in their gutters, particularly in areas close to bushland.

And while the immediate fire danger has passed, officials have warned the burnt portion of the Lake Joondalup reserve still poses a risk for residents.

Cyclists and pedestrians were advised not to use the path through the reserve because of the risk of being injured by falling branches weakened by the flames.

A Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) spokeswoman said prescribed burns were planned in the area for later this year, having not been undertaken since 2013.

Travelling along Lakeside Drive, the blaze destroyed a Grassbird Avenue home, damaged an ECU Joondalup student accommodation building and burned 12ha of land over about four hours from 3pm.

A Morley man (26) was charged with breach of duty over the incident on Tuesday, accused of using a cigarette lighter to burn an area of scrub for camping.

Morley man charged over Joondalup fire

The DPAW spokeswoman said camping was not allowed in the area at any of time of year, let alone during a total fire ban.

She said camping was only permitted in designated areas, which the Lake Joondalup reserve, part of Yellagonga Regional Park, is not.

It took about 80 firefighters and 30 trucks supported by air bombing crews to contain the blaze, which blew out of control in near 40C weather, leaving DFES officials to warn nearby residents to leave their homes because it was too dangerous to stay and defend their property.

No one was home at the single razed premises.

Seven people, including five firefighters, were treated at Joondalup Health Campus emergency department for minor issues relating to the fire. About 12 personnel were monitoring the burnt bushland yesterday.

The fire came worryingly close to ECU Joondalup’s newest student accommodation, which finished construction just last year.

Some rooms were damaged. There were cracked windows as well as heat and smoke bruising.

The building, which houses 275 students, was evacuated along with three nearby teaching blocks and the childcare centre.

Students were shifted to accommodation at the Mt Lawley campus for the night as well as rooms at Murdoch University.

All residents had returned by Tuesday, except for 12 boarders whose rooms were damaged.

The Weekender understands the campus does not have a specific bushfire management plan, but uses a critical incident management plan, which it put in place on Monday.

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