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Lives and homes at danger: Bushfire raging in popular tourist town

A fast-moving bushfire in Western Australia is continuing to rage, with concerns some residents may be forced to leave their homes to avoid the danger.

The out-of-control blaze, which started near the intersection of Caves Rd and Calgardup Rd in Boranup on Wednesday morning, has so far burnt through 1186 hectares.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services incident controller Jeff Bennett said there were no reports of property damage because the fire was so far contained within a national park.

“Some of the infrastructure around the caves has been protected overnight,” he told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Bennett said firefighters had worked hard, but prevailing winds and warm temperatures meant containment lines had been broken.

He said there could be pressure on communities to the east of the blaze later on Thursday.

“There is a cool change expected over the next couple of days, so hopefully that will assist our operations, but today it’s going to make a big fire run … resources are going to be fully stretched.”

Firefighters have worked tirelessly throughout the night. Picture: Supplied/ DFES Incident Photographer Sean Blocksidge
Camera IconFirefighters have worked tirelessly throughout the night. Supplied / DFES Incident Photographer Sean Blocksidge Credit: Supplied

Evacuees on Wednesday were campers who went into town, Mr Bennett revealed.

“There’s been no other further evacuations at this stage, but potentially there will be,” he said.

An emergency warning remains in place for people in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park south of Redgate Rd, west of Bussell Hwy, then Vlam Rd and Caves Rd, and north of Reserve Rd in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.

“You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. There is a threat to lives and homes,” DFES warned.

“If the way is clear, leave now for a safer place. Do not wait and see – leaving at the last minute is deadly.”

More than 100 firefighters are working to strengthen containment lines.

Mr Bennett said the cause of the fire was unknown.

“We have got some investigators coming in, hopefully this afternoon,” he said.

Some roads have been closed, including Caves Rd from the Redgate Rd intersection to Boranup Dr in the south and Forest Grove to the east.

Motorists are warned to avoid the area, reduce speed and drive carefully due to smoke.

People are able to leave the area via Bussell Hwy.

Firefighters are continuing to battle the blaze. Picture: Supplied/ DFES Incident Photographer Sean Blocksidge
Camera IconFirefighters are continuing to battle the blaze. Supplied / DFES Incident Photographer Sean Blocksidge Credit: Supplied

Park closures include Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, Conto campground, Conto coastal day use site, Point Rd campsite, Boranup campsite, Calgardup Cave, Giants Cave, Boranup Dr, and Redgate beach and carpark.

The popular Cape to Cape track is also closed.

Anyone self-isolating or quarantining due to Covid-19 must find alternative accommodation, wear a mask and maintain physical distancing.

Meanwhile, a watch and act alert is also in place for people in areas bounded by Rainbow Cave Rd to the north, Harrison and Thompson Rd to the east, and Bussell Hwy to the southeast, then south to Chapman Rd and Hamelin Bay Rd.

“There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a fire is approaching in the area and conditions are changing,” DFES warned.

In a separate blaze, an emergency warning has been issued for people travelling along Quininup Rd in Yallingup, in the City of Busselton.

That out-of-control fire, which was reported at 9am on Thursday, started near Quininup Rd.

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