Travellers stranded at remote WA roadhouse

About 150 people are at Caiguna, about 350 kilometres west of the South Australian border, after bushfire and smoke forced the closure of 400 kilometres of the Eyre Highway between the small roadhouse community and the historic mining town of Norseman. Picture: Stock
About 150 people are at Caiguna, about 350 kilometres west of the South Australian border, after bushfire and smoke forced the closure of 400 kilometres of the Eyre Highway between the small roadhouse community and the historic mining town of Norseman. Picture: Stock

HOLIDAYMAKERS and truckies stranded at a remote roadhouse on the Nullarbor because of a bushfire are pleading with authorities to drop in more supplies.

About 150 people are at Caiguna, about 350 kilometres west of the South Australian border, after bushfire and smoke forced the closure of 400 kilometres of the Eyre Highway between the small roadhouse community and the historic mining town of Norseman.

The fire, which has been burning at the Higginsville mine site since December 16, has blackened more than 148,000 hectares of land and is being fought by 81 firefighters.

Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services says fresh ignitions, erratic fire behaviour and unstable weather conditions mean the highway will remain closed for at least five days.

Jason Leppard and his family have spent three days at Caiguna after they hit the roadblock while travelling from South Australia with their caravan.

Mr Leppard said an airdrop on Wednesday delivered essential items like bread and water, but supplies, including toilet paper, are dwindling

“It’s all well and good to wait a day or two, but now they’re taking about five days they’ve got to get some supplies in here,” he said.

“We need water, and we don’t just need 600ml bottles.”

Mr Leppard said up to 400 people were originally at the roadblock, but many had turned back.

There are now 20-25 road trains parked in the area, along with cars and caravans.

He said searing temperatures and low water supplies made travelling risky, but those still stranded had been in generally good spirits.

“I’ve not witnessed any aggro – that’s not the feel of the place,” he said.

“I get that fires are unpredictable… it’s just frustrating we don’t know when we’ll be let through.”

Emergency services are urging travellers to stop taking backtracks and unsealed roads in an effort to get around the road closures in the Goldfields Esperance District.

“Western Australia Police Force have already had numerous requests for assistance for stranded travellers,” the DFES said.

“The decision to close a road is only made when there is a genuine risk to life.

“For your own safety as well as that of our crews, please do not try and travel through these areas.”