The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says it’s unlikely that the weather will deliver any relief to the various parts of Western Australia which are at risk of massive bushfire blazing through the eastern parts of Perth.
Approximately 30 homes have been lost or damaged and an emergency warning has been issued for several parts including the Northan, shires of Mundaring, Chitteing and the City of Swan.
Air tanker departs Sydney
The Air tanker has taken off and for anyone who has lived in both Perth and Sydney, this is a sight to behold. The Marie Bashir left its base at Richmond situated on the outskirts of Sydney and heads to Western Australia.
The 737 is capable of flying at a speed of 850km/h and can carry up to 15,000 litres of water or fire retardant which can be filled within 15 minutes.
Air quality warning
DFES has issued a long-ranging smoke warning for those living in areas spanning Joondalup to Rottnest Island as well as Fremantle in Perth’s metropolitan area.
For those not familiar with Western Australia’s topography, that’s a huge chunk of this city’s most populated zones.
The latest reports about the air quality in Perth show thick smoke that chokes. Monitoring stations in Duncraig and Quinns Rocks rated the air quality as “fair” at 11am WST.
However, the anecdotal evidence shows the air is a lot worse than that.
Swan View evacuation centre
Radha Rajini and her family are among those who have been sheltering at the Swan View evacuation centre since 10am local time. They moved to the evacuation centre after receiving an emergency text at around 2am.
“We started to prepare ourselves for evacuation and then we started to water the plants and everything just for defending ourselves,” she said
She added that they had no idea of what could happen next or where they would spend the rest of the night.
“We didn’t know what will be the next step,” she said.
She noted that the lockdown had made it more challenging for them to escape as they had to rush without their food supplies.
According to the deputy Commissioner Craig Waters, it’s more about using common sense when it comes to making a decision to flee a bushfire.
“With the current restrictions with COVID-19, or people who have been asked to isolate because of travel restrictions, they need to do whatever they need to do to look after their own safety and the safety of their loved ones,” he told reporters.
“If that meant staying with a family member or a friend, that is fine.
“If they have to go to an evacuation centre, that is fine too.
“They just need to make sure that they do the appropriate thing, commonsense, self isolate, wear a mask, make it known to representatives from the Department that they are required to self isolate.
“They will also be required to contact police as well.”
Mr Waters warned those on the black-shaded areas on the map not to leave as it was too dangerous to do so.
Fire perimeter already 75km
The DFES Deputy Commissioner Mr Waters said the fire grew more intense last night and has already burnt down 7,000ha. He says the current perimeter of 75km was likely going to “pose issues” in days ahead.
He noted that the rapid acceleration of this kind of fire points to the changing climate and moisture deficit within the soil.
Lockdown vs evacuation
Most of West Australians are currently under lockdown as a precaution taken by the government to stem the spread of Covid-19 (the Prime Minister announced that no new cases of the coronavirus were found in more than 16,000 people tested in recent reporting period).
People in the fireground are expected to remain in “lockdown” though the Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said that fleeing the fire takes priority.
“You must do whatever you need to do to protect your life and those of your immediate family,” he said.
‘Significant’ damage to power network
The Premier noted during his presser that there was “significant” damage to the electricity network within areas affected by the bushfire.
He urged residents to remain at least 8 metres away from any allen powerlines or any other damage caused to the network.
Call 13 13 51 to report any damage to the network and get the emergency crews to attend to the hazard quickly to ensure the area is safe.
The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs, objectives or circumstances into consideration, and is not financial advice, legal advice or otherwise a recommendation to purchase any financial product or insurance policy. You should seek your own independent financial advice from a qualified financial and insurance adviser before making any financial decisions, and seek your own independent legal advice from a qualified solicitor before making any decisions of a legal nature.