Ocean Farms and Seaview Park residents may get temporary access soon

DFES deputy incident controller Greg Mair says firefighters need to get through the coming hot spell before they can open up for residents affected by the Red Gully bushfire. Picture: Anita McInnes

THIS morning people who attended a community meeting at Guilderton wanted to know when they could return to their homes at Ocean Farms or Seaview Park estates.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) deputy incident controller Greg Mair said until firefighters got through the coming hot spell they were not yet in a position to open up for residents.

Mr Mair said although the Red Gully bushfire was now contained it was not controlled, the air was very hot and dry and the easterly with a sea breeze forecast form about 3pm made conditions difficult for firefighters.

He said while no homes had been lost a farmhouse and an outbuilding-shed had been damaged and there had been some agricultural losses including pine trees, fencing and pasture.

At the meeting held at the Guilderton Country Club Lancelin Police officer-in-charge Sergeant Michael Paterson said people kept coming into the station trying to get access permits so they could travel on closed roads.

Sergeant Paterson said they were unable to help people as the access permits were given out by DFES and not police.

At the main incident control centre at 2pm incident controller Sven Andersen said tomorrow they wanted to start planning for an access system for when people would be able to go in and then come back out again.

“We’re still under an emergency warning at the moment due to the fact that if that fire breaks out it’s only an hour away from those estates, particularly the Ocean Farms and Seaview Park estates,’’ he said.

“I expect that tomorrow we’ll have a lot better idea if we can hold this fire where it is today, tonight and tomorrow during the high threat period then (it could happen) Saturday morning.

But Mr Andersen emphasised that could all change as there were still a lot of hot spots, which were internal and they could break out anytime and if that happened firefighters would be chasing running fire once again.

“We’re not now at the solid 40km/h type winds we’ve been seeing but the gusts are probably just as dangerous as the solid ones.

“We need to have significant numbers on the fire line so we are going past patches continuously so that’s a lot of manpower, a lot of time and concern it could break out anywhere – they’re running a lot of hose in to mop up where they can.

“The hot spots aren’t necessarily visual to the human eye so we have aircraft in the air mapping through infrared camera and thermal imaging cameras to identify these hot spots and then we are working on those – the ones that are close to the edge and working our way back as we go.

“We’re really concerned that people do become complacent because they don’t see any new fire but it can turn quite easily.’’

He said there were quite a few parts of the Red Gully bushfire where things could change very quickly.

At 7.24pm a DFES alert said the Red Gully bushfire emergency warning had been extended to include an area east of Brand Hwy in parts of Regans Ford and Yathroo including Rowes Rd to the north, Moochamulla Rd to the east, Mogumber Rd West to the south and through to Brand Hwy.

The alert said smoke was impacting Brand Hwy between Regans Ford and Cataby Roadhouse.

It also said Ocean Farms Estate and Seaview Park residents were unable to return home as the very hot, dry and windy weather conditions forecast for the next two days had the potential to rapidly escalate fire behaviour.

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