Augusta bush fire downgraded; extent of damage unknown

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River has confirmed that the emergency warning for the Augusta area was downgraded to a Watch & Act alert at around 5.30am on Tuesday morning following an exhaustive night of work by firefighters.

Sixty personnel from brigades in the Shire as well as crews from City of Busselton and the Department of Parks and Wildlife spent Monday night battling the huge blaze, which is believed to have broken out near the West Bay Caravan Park just north of Augusta townsite.

“[Firefighters] have now built containment lines around 90 per cent of the fire.” a Shire media spokesperson said on Tuesday morning.

“A number of the crews are currently conducting backburns to contain the remaining 10 per cent of the fire, which is burning towards difficult-to-access Karri swamp terrain.”

More firefighters are working on making smouldering trees and logs along Caves Road and Bussell Highway safe ahead of roads re-opening during the day.

“Once major roads are reopened, efforts will then move to the reopening of local roads to enable residents to return to their properties.”

The extent of damage is as yet unknown, and the Shire urged fire-affected residents to remain at temporary accommodation until they have seen their road advertised as re-open.

Roads are expected to re-open around 10am on Tuesday, however residents are urged to wait for confirmation before travelling near the fire.

Road closures and re-openings will be updated regularly via www.emergency.wa.gov.au

Rapid assessment officers from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services were due to arrive in the region on Tuesday morning to begin accessing properties and damage.

Anyone who requires support and advice regarding fire recovery is asked to contact the Shire on 9780 5255 or via email amrshire@amrshire.wa.gov.au

The general public is asked to stay away from the fire zone; be aware of reduced visibility due to smoke and drive to the conditions and stay indoors if you have asthma or breathing difficulties.

FURTHER WARNINGS

A bushfire WATCH AND ACT has been issued for people bounded south of Hamelin Bay Road West to Chapman Road, west of Vansittard Road and the Blackwood River, north of Hillview Road and east of the coastline in Augusta, Deepdene and Hamelin Bay. There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a fire is burning in the area and the conditions are changing.

Firefighters are burning unburnt pockets within the fire boundary which will create smoke through the morning.

RED CROSS LAUNCHES EMERGENCY PROGRAM

Red Cross has opened Register.Find.Reunite. and is urging people affected by the Bushfire near Augusta to get in touch with their families and friends.

 “Being separated from family and friends is one of the most stressful things a person can experience during an emergency. Not knowing where your loved ones are, not being able to contact them by phone or email adds to that anxiety,” said Red Cross State Manager Emergency Services, Erin Fuery.

 “The service helps find and reunite family, friends and loved ones during a disaster,” she said.

 If you or a loved one has been impacted by the Bushfire near Augusta, Red Cross encourages you to register or enquire through the Register.Find.Reunite. service.

 People can register and look for someone with Register.Find.Reunite. at the Margaret River Cultural Centre, 51 Wallcliffe Road in Margaret River, at the Augusta Centennial Hall, 62 Allnut Terrace in Augusta, or on the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org.au from a computer or any mobile device.

 The Register.Find.Reunite. service matches registrations from people affected by an emergency to enquiries made by their loved ones searching for news. Where a match is made, the person who made the enquiry will be notified.