Crews working to restore power after Yanchep bushfire

Western Power crews shown here working on Yanchep Beach Rd on Monday have a big job in Breakwater and Seatrees where more than 150 power poles were destroyed by the Yanchep bushfire. Picture: Anita McInnes

ABOUT 250 customers were still without power in the Breakwater and Seatrees estates yesterday as a result of the bushfire, which started in Yanchep on Wednesday, December 11.

More than 150 power poles and 10km of powerlines were destroyed by the bushfire as it burnt about 13,000ha of land, some structures such as garden sheds, the Yanchep Service Station and a nearby home but hardworking fireys saved about 6000 homes, including in Two Rocks.

According to a Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) alert this morning anyone affected by the fire can obtain more information at the Yanchep Community Centre, 7 Lagoon Dr Yanchep.

The centre will be open today until 7pm, on Thursday, December 19 from 3pm to 7pm and on Friday, December 20 from 8am to noon.

Yesterday about 3pm at a community meeting at the Granville Hall in Gingin deputy incident controller Greg Mair said with the temperature just over 30 degrees, a south wester blowing, some humidity and the chance of rain on Thursday the bushfire had been downgraded to a bushfire advice.

Mr Mair said people still needed to remain alert and not venture into burnt areas especially where there were tuart trees or grass trees.

A DFES alert at 9.29am this morning said there were still risks posed by burning trees and falling branches, as well as smouldering, unburnt pockets within the fireground.

Residents who are returning home are asked to obey road closures, drive slowly and watch out for emergency services working on site. Picture: Anita McInnes

At a Shire of Gingin council meeting yesterday about 3.30pm a DFES representative said all DFES fireys had been stood down but patrols of the bushfire-affected areas would continue to be carried out by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions personnel.

A Western Power spokeswoman said crews had started work reconstructing fire-damaged parts of the network on Monday, December 16.

Materials required were transported to site, poles were prepared for construction and fire-damaged assets were removed.

She said the priority yesterday was to repair and restore the network along Breakwater Dr and parts of Indian Ocean Dr to get power back on to as many customers as quickly and as safely as possible.

“We have boosted our crew numbers in the Breakwater-Seatrees estates area through the cancellation of planned outage works in the metropolitan area,’’ she said.

Yesterday there were more than 70 ground personnel working in the area.

“To assist with the speed of reconstruction works, we have stockpiled resources and assets at a temporary depot near the Two Rocks townsite.

“We advise motorists to take care in the area as there will be heavy machinery and large vehicles entering and exiting the area – there will be traffic management in place.

“Even with the extra resources and preplanning, the extensive damage means it may be several days before we are able to re-energise the line ready for reconnection to the underground network in the area.

“Once this work is completed, we will continue to rebuild the entire network in the area, which may mean that some individual rural connections may be off until later in the week.’’

She said WA electrical inspectors were on the ground on Monday and were expected to complete their final inspections yesterday.

“They have left tags with information for homeowners on what, if anything, they need to do before reconnection can occur.’’

On Wednesday Breakwater Dr between Oregano Dr and Indian Ocean Dr and Yanchep Beach Rd between Parkland Rd and Indian Ocean Dr remained closed.

Breakwater Dr east of Mayflower Pde was only open to local traffic with no access to Indian Ocean Dr.

Indian Ocean Dr is now open.

Yanchep National Park has reopened today but all walk trails will remain closed until further notice.

Wilbinga Conservation Park and adjacent state forest remain closed.