Margaret River fire emergency: Blaze downgraded to watch and act as WA authorities finally ‘contain’ inferno
A major bushfire in Western Australia’s Margaret River region that forced residents to evacuate has been downgraded to a watch and act.
And Bussell Highway, a major north-south route in our South West, has also been reopened and residents of Boranup are likely to be able to return to their homes by this afternoon.
Authorities flagged Saturday that conditions were favourable and likely to allow the emergency warning on the blaze since mid-week to finally be eased.
“Bussell Highway is now open and we are looking to open up the Boranup community for those that haven’t been able to return yet,” a DFES spokesperson said.
“The weather has been very kind to us.”
However, while the fire has been contained, authorities and locals aren’t completely out of the woods yet with the fire stationary “but not controlled”.
A watch and act in place for people bounded by Calgardup Brook to the north, Caves Road to the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park boundary to the north and east, Hamelin Bay Road West and the National Park.
It comes after police revealed Saturday they believe the dangerous inferno was deliberately lit.
The blaze in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park has ripped through almost 5500 hectares since Wednesday.
Police say they believe someone deliberately lit the fire near Mammoth Cave, based on an initial assessment of the scene.
“Detectives would like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the vicinity of Mammoth Cave on Wednesday (8 December) or who has dash-cam or mobile phone vision of people or vehicles in the area at the time,” police said in a statement on Saturday.
Earlier, Department of Fire and Emergency Services incident controller Brad Barton said, thankfully, property had been saved.
He said there were no reports of homes lost and the blaze had been mainly contained to the national park.
“We’re going to get to a tropical 19 degrees in Margaret River (Sunday which) is the forecast with some southerly winds. We’ve got some light misty rain at the moment so that has really helped us,” he told a livestreamed community update on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Barton said residents should still take the situation seriously and monitor the Emergency WA site for updates.
“Fire is unpredictable and ... things can go awry at times,” he warned.
Seventy-five firefighters worked to fight the blaze on Saturday.
Residents had first been urged to leave on Thursday before conditions improved on Friday, but later deteriorated.
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