Fire threatened homes

Billowing smoke above north-bound traffic on Great Northern Highway last Thursday.
Billowing smoke above north-bound traffic on Great Northern Highway last Thursday.

Within 24 hours, more than 1500 hectares had been burnt, but there was no loss of life or major property damage.

At its peak, about 200 firefighters tackled the out-of-control fire. About 30 homes near Shady Hills, about 8km south-east of Bullsbrook, were under serious threat.

An emergency warning was issued for residents near Shady Hills and west of Walyunga National Park. The fire burnt in bushland less than 1km east of the Great Northern Highway and firefighters worked hard to consolidate containment lines.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Allen Gale said the concern was windy conditions that could cause the fire to spread further toward Bullsbrook.

‘Homes in Shady Hills were under threat by fire, with about 100 homeowners remaining to defend their homes,’ he said.

‘A lot of these people were well-prepared and able to protect their properties. Our message is always that if you are not prepared to the highest level, then leave.’

It is understood about a dozen residents stayed overnight on Thursday at the Picket Park Hall, in Bullsbrook, and more than 1000 attended a community meeting at the hall early on Friday.

‘The residents showed great appreciation to the firefighters. Many wanted to know when they could get back home,’ Mr Gale said.

Bullsbrook District High School, Immaculate Heart College and Bullsbrook Community Kindergarten remained closed on Friday.

Roads closed included Warbrook Road, Walyunga Road, Great Northern Highway from Rutland Road to Apple Street and local roads surrounding the fire.

While the official cause of the blaze is still not known, a Department of Fire and Emergency representative said sparks from a Kalgoorlie-bound freight train were suspected to have ignited a string of fires along the line.

The Bullsbrook blaze was the second major fire in a week for the region. Last Wednesday, a fire threatened properties north of The Vines, before being brought under control.