Residents concerned about bushfire evacuation and safety risks

Emergency warnings are in place for the Yanchep bushfire. Picture: Josh Tucker
Emergency warnings are in place for the Yanchep bushfire. Picture: Josh Tucker

CONCERNS raised by residents about the danger of a bushfire in Two Rocks or Yanchep are proving prophetic with this week’s bushfire emergencies.

There are two routes in and out of Two Rocks – one via Two Rocks Road to Yanchep and the other via Breakwater Drive to Indian Ocean Drive.

Both roads have been closed during the out-of-control Yanchep bushfire, which was reported about 2.15pm on December 11 and has burnt through more than 1000ha.

Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association members raised concerns about the risks of bushfires and difficulty of evacuations at recent meetings.

In October, resident Ed Whitchurch raised concerns about the bushfire risk of the area after attending a roadshow held by the City of Wanneroo and fire brigades.

The association has been campaigning about road safety issues on Two Rocks Road and Mr Whitchurch said the risk of crashes could increase “if people are trying to leave en masse and the fire brigade is trying to come up the other way”.

He put forward a motion that the association ask the City of Wanneroo to make Two Rocks Road a dual carriageway to address road safety concerns.

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Posted by 7NEWS Perth on Thursday, December 12, 2019

In late November, Mr Whitchurch reiterated his call to upgrade the road, saying there was a lot of scrub around the suburbs.

“If there is a massive bushfire, the houses nearby would have a problem,” he said.

“As climate change takes over, these places are going to be more and more of a problem and our homes at risk.”

Chairman Alex Figg said the height and amount of fire fuel along Yanchep Beach Road and Wanneroo Road was a concern as well.

Several roads have been closed since the fire started on Wednesday, including Yanchep Beach Road, Wanneroo Road-Indian Ocean Drive between Pipidinny Road and Breakwater Drive, and Old Yanchep Road.

Road closure for the Yanchep bushfire.

Two Rocks Road was also closed on Thursday afternoon as the fire threatened homes in Yanchep’s north and Two Rocks.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services advised people living in emergency warning areas in Yanchep and Two Rocks to leave immediately by heading south towards Marmion Avenue, with an evacuation centre set up in Quinns Rocks.

It advised people in Breakwater and Sea Trees estates to leave by heading east on Breakwater Drive, then north along Indian Ocean Drive, with a second evacuation centre set up in Gingin.

Motorists were asked to avoid the area, and Main Roads advised there was congestion on the detour taking traffic from Indian Ocean Drive to Gingin Gingin Brook Road and Brand Highway.

In the lead up to the bushfire season, DFES encouraged everyone to have a ‘five-minute fire chat‘ about what to do in a bushfire emergency.

The Education Department has advised parents not to send children to schools in the area on Friday, including Yanchep Secondary College, Yanchep Lagoon, Yanchep Beach and Two Rocks primary schools.

Atlantis Beach Baptist College in Two Rocks also advised it had received an emergency evacuation notice and advised people not to approach the area.

Surf Life Saving WA advised its lifeguards had left Yanchep Lagoon due to the bushfire activity on Thursday afternoon, and the beach would be unpatrolled for the rest of the day.

For updates on bushfire warnings, visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au.

Firefighters attend the Yanchep fire.