Lightning sparks biggest blaze

Panarama of Bindoon smoke haze
Panarama of Bindoon smoke haze

The bushfire, which threatened lives and properties around the Bindoon town site, was sparked by a lightning strike at about 11am on Thursday.

It burnt about 2300ha before being brought under control.

Helitac pilot Brenton Davis said in the first two hours of the fire, more than 200ha of bushland already had been burnt.

‘We threw everything at it,’ he said. ‘We had five fixed-wing water bombers brought up from Bunbury and used two type 1 helicopters and all four Squirrel Helitacs.

‘There were multiple resources, with at least 30 different (fire) crews. This was the biggest fire we’ve seen this season.’

The Bindoon town site and about 350 properties at the nearby Country Club housing estate were evacuated about 3.30pm.

Shire of Chittering CEO Gary Tuffin said residents initially held up in the Bindoon Town Hall, but as the fire approached they were moved to Muchea Welfare Centre.

‘Tea Tree Road was the main area of concern because off that road are all the rural residential estates,’ he said.

‘It was estimated the fire would have hit the Bindoon Country Club estate about 45 minutes after everyone left. It was an imminent threat and everyone evacuated in the town once the message to evacuate came through from DFES to every mobile phone in Bindoon.’

Thankfully firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control before it threatened any homes.

At the height of the fire, about 150 firefighters fought back flames that threatened parts of Bindoon, Upper Chittering, Mooliabeenee, Lennard Brook and Breera in the Shires of Chittering and Gingin.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services divisional commander Mike Klenner said the fire was eventually contained by midnight Thursday.

‘Up to 80 crews from metro and outer metro areas worked all night to reinforce the containment lines to make sure tree stumps were out and embers couldn’t spread,’ he said.

‘We are fortunate the wind didn’t change, so we were able to make sure all the fires were out.

‘By 11am Friday, the fire was contained.’