Warning for Ocean Farms as bushfire about 1hr away

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At 3.30pm DFES said the Red Gully bushfire will reach Ocean Farms estate in about 60 minutes. File picture

THE Shire of Gingin says at present it is most concerned about Ocean Farms residents, who are at risk if the Red Gully bushfire, breaks out on the southern side.

Shire of Gingin President Wayne Fewster, who was at a press conference organised by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) in Guilderton this afternoon said the head fire was only three or 4km from the rural-residential area of Ocean Farms estate.

Cr Fewster, who is the deputy chief of the Gingin fire brigade, said he had been at the fire the past two nights under difficult conditions.

“You think you’ve got it and the wind kicks up and spots out and you haven’t got it so it’s very difficult conditions,’’ he said.

Cr Fewster said he and the council would be concerned if they could not get the breakout on the southern side, which was putting Ocean Farms at risk, under control.

He said Ocean Farms was a hotspot due to being a rural-residential area of big blocks with a certain amount of grass.

He was hopeful they all had their firebreaks in place as required under the Bush Fires Act 1954.

“But that’s probably not going to stop a fire coming through at the rate of knots so I would suggest anyone in there their best option would be to leave,’’ he said.

There are about 270 Ocean Farms residents with the bulk of them believed to have already evacuated.

DFES deputy incident controller Andy Duckworth said they wanted Ocean Farms, Seaview, Wedge Island and Lancelin residents to continue to monitor the Emergency WA website.

He said most Ocean Farms residents had already self-evacuated, which meant firefighters could focus solely on the bushfire instead of having to move people out of the way.

With Wedge Island, which is on watch and act the concern is due to the risk of unexploded ordnance in the area from the old Lancelin bombing range -this prevents ground crews from getting in there to fight the bushfire.

DFES has up to 13 aircraft at a time helping the 200 firefighters battling the bushfire.

Despite DFES alerts saying for some time that the cause of the bushfire was accidental Mr Duckworth said the cause was best described as undetermined.

Mr Duckworth said the bushfire was very challenging as it was running at about 3.5km/h.

The bushfire, which was reported at 9.33am on January 2, started near the intersection of Mogumber Rd West and Brand Hwy in Red Gully.

At 2.25pm today DFES said 7200ha had been burnt.