Bushfire sparks concern for Yallingup residents

The Injidup Residents Association representative Kevin Singer with Kim Wilkie from the Minderoo Foundation.
The Injidup Residents Association representative Kevin Singer with Kim Wilkie from the Minderoo Foundation.

A bushfire which was believed to be lit by an arsonist in Yallingup on December 7 last year has been a wake-up call for residents living in Injidup.

The fire was alleged to have started under suspicious circumstances on land adjacent to the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and is now under investigation by WA Police.

The Injidup Residents Association representative Kevin Singer held a community meeting on Saturday to provide residents with an opportunity to discuss concerns.

"The fire that happened south of this community had a potential, based on wind conditions, to have been catastrophic," he said.

"The first assessment of properties deemed that most were not defendable by the fire brigade, that was a wake up call.

"The local fire brigade in the following days came back and revised that assessment and subsequently the city has been working to encourage landowners and residents to do more effective mitigation.

"The big concern we have though is for properties that have an absent landowner where there is considerable fuel loads that are not managed year-by-year.

"The other concern is recognition from the city that Wyadup Road is a critical evacuation route because it is the only access to the coastal community."

A resident who lived close to the fire said he left his property around 8am in the morning and did not smell or see any smoke.

"The fire was phoned in from a person who saw it from Moses Rock at 8.15am, I live two kilometres away and did not see or smell anything."

The resident was told by authorities that they had found four ignition points in grass trees that had been lit, and they believed the fires were started around 4.30am on December 7, 2020.

"I was enormously impressed with how quickly authorities and volunteer fire brigades responded to the fire," he said.

"There were two whopping big vehicles which got up a really difficult track and cleared 10 hectares to create a moat around the fire so it would not spread within two hours," he said.

"They also had helicopters and planes bombarding the fire from the sky, the response was impressive."

The community have rallied together to raise money to install a water tank which could be accessed by firefighters in the event of bushfires.

A representative from the Minderoo Foundation Kim Wilkie attended the meeting to advise residents that the foundation would donate a $13,800 water tank to the community.

Mr Wilkie said the foundation, which was started by Andrew and Nicole Forrest, liked to help communities which helped themselves.

"Here you have a community which has already raised $16,000 to put in a water tank, which would not only help this community but the whole region," he said.

"It is really exciting that we can work with this community to achieve those sorts of results."

WA Police urge anyone who is in the vicinity of a fire who sees any suspicious persons or vehicles, or has vision of the area at the time to come forward.

The information can be provided to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at crimestopperswa.com.au. Callers may remain anonymous if they wish.

Rewards of up to $50,000 are available for information that leads to the identification and conviction of an arsonist.