Yallingup bushfires: Police arson squad on hunt for ‘disgraceful, disgusting’ arsonist responsible for fires

Catherine Massey, Shannon Hampton & Rangi HiriniThe West Australian
VideoSW fire was deliberately lit

Police are hunting for a “disgraceful, disgusting” arsonist believed to be responsible for lighting two fires which threatened homes in the South West on Saturday night.

The fires, which broke just out hours after the devastating blaze which destroyed 86 homes in the Perth Hills was finally brought to heel. One came within 3km of Yallingup homes before being contained.

Both fires — just 11km apart — began around the same time. More than 100 firefighters were called to battle the twin blazes before a downpour helped contain them.

Authorities said they had identified six separate ignition points. 

The Capes region has become a suspicious fire hotspot in recent weeks.

Police said recent and historic fires would be examined to determine if they were dealing with a serial arsonist.

Premier Mark McGowan put firebugs on notice.

“Can I say to anyone thinking of deliberately lighting a fire — you will get caught and the penalties are severe, including serious jail time,” he said.

“If someone has deliberately lit a fire after the week we’ve been through, they are just an appalling human being and they will have the book thrown at them. After the fires at Wooroloo, after the week of COVID, after the flooding up north, to go and light a fire in Yallingup, if that’s what happened, it’s a disgusting, disgraceful act.”

WA Police arson squad officers at the scene of one of the Yallingup fires today.
Camera IconWA Police arson squad officers at the scene of one of the Yallingup fires today. Credit: 7NEWS

South West District Superintendent Geoff Stewart said the actions of the firebug were “unfathomable”.

“It’s something that beggars belief. We're going to do everything we can to find who may have been responsible for this,” he said.

No properties were damaged in South West fires.

The blazes came as rainfall continued to bring relief to scorched areas north of Perth.

More than 15mm of rain fell in the worst-affected area of Gidgegannup over the weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett said the rain was “persistent and steady”, providing a helping hand to fire crews.

“The rain has been a real godsend,” he said. “I think every one of them out there would say ‘yes please’ to the rain rather than two more days of the strong easterly winds that we’ve been experiencing this week.”

Mr McGowan said the relief effort’s priorities had shifted to cleaning up the area and transition to recovery.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online.

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