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WA bushfire downgraded after evacuation

A bushfire in Western Australia’s southwest that forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents and tourists has been downgraded after firefighters managed to contain the blaze.

People were evacuated from the tourist hotspot of Eagle Bay in the city of Busselton on Tuesday afternoon.

But hours later firefighters contained the fire raging around Eagle Bay, Naturaliste and Dunsborough.

The emergency has now been downgraded to ‘watch and act” although people are being warned to remain on alert in case conditions change on Wednesday.

The cause of the fire, which started near Curtis Bay Beach in Dunsborough, is being investigated.

The blaze has burned through more than 220 hectares but it’s believed no homes have been lost.

On Tuesday more than 150 firefighters were working to contain the blaze, which left the Eagle Bay and Bunker Bay communities isolated.

Assisted evacuation convoys left the Eagle Bay community hall and Pullman Bunker Bay resort at 4pm.

Authorities have so far been unable to access the ignition point to determine whether the fire may have been deliberately lit.

The blaze was first reported on Monday night with firefighters initially unable to access the scene.

Talkback caller Rob said he and his family had watched from the beach, having fled their Dunsborough holiday home after volunteers banged on their door to alert them to the blaze.

“It was quite spectacular actually, burning bright red and bursts of trees going up,” he told Perth radio 6PR on Tuesday.

“We don’t know if the house has survived or not. It certainly seemed to be pretty much in the direct path of it but the road’s closed off and we can’t get in.”

Local winery Wise Wine and the nearby Meelup Farmhouse said on social media they had escaped unscathed despite the fire coming “really close” to their venues.

The Eagle Bay Brewing Co said it would remain closed on Tuesday and urged those in the area to stay safe.

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