Yanchep and Pinjar areas close due to extreme weather

Parts of Yanchep National Park have been closed as authorities warn residents to prepare for extreme weather. Picture: Anita McInnes

PARTS of Yanchep National Park and off road vehicle areas in Pinjar and Gnangara were closed this afternoon due to forecast extreme weather conditions.

The Parks and Wildlife Service said the closure at Yanchep National Park at 4pm Friday, November 8 included all extended walk trails – Yanchep Rose, Yaberoo Budjara, Cockatoo, Coastal Plains and Ghost House walk trails.

The Yanchep National Park areas and the off road vehicle designated areas in the cities of Wanneroo and Swan are expected to reopen on Sunday, November 10.

People are urged to avoid the areas, follow the advice of Parks and Wildlife Service staff and observe signage while people already in the areas should leave for a safer place.

The extreme weather forecast means Western Australians need to prepare for the possibility of significant bushfires on the weekend, with high temperatures and strong winds likely to create dangerous fire conditions in the southern half of the state, including Perth.

If temperatures in Perth reach the predicted maximum on Saturday, it will be the earliest occurrence of a 40°C day in November since records began.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) deputy commissioner Craig Waters urged the public to be aware of their surroundings and act immediately if they see smoke or flames.

“This weekend’s conditions mean the smallest of fires can escalate quickly and become unstoppable, so you need to take steps now to ensure you are prepared,” he said. 

“Visit firechat.wa.gov.au and have a five-minute Fire Chat with your family about what you will do if a bushfire threatens your area. 

“You need to know what your triggers are to leave, where you will go and how you will get there. Knowing these three things will give you the greatest chance of survival should a bushfire occur.”

Mr Waters said firefighters were ready to respond but safety was everyone’s responsibility.

“There will never be as many fire trucks as there are homes.

“You cannot wait for a text or a knock on the door – you need to take action and stay up-to-date via the emergency.wa.gov.au website, follow DFES on Facebook, listen to your local ABC, or call 13 DFES (13 3337).

Bureau of Meteorology WA acting state manager James Ashley said a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and dry conditions would lead to severe to extreme fire danger ratings for parts of southern WA.

“A high-pressure system moving into the Bight will direct hot and dry north easterly winds over the west coast on Saturday, causing temperatures to increase to 40°C in some places, including Perth,” he said. 

“The hot air will move eastwards on Sunday, and the eastern Wheatbelt, Goldfields and South East Coastal districts are likely to experience temperatures in the high 30s with severe to extreme fire weather conditions.

“If Perth reaches its predicted top of 40°C on Saturday, it will be the earliest a 40°C day has been recorded at Perth in November and only the third time it has reached 40°C in November since temperature records began in Perth in 1897.”

For more information on how to prepare and respond to bushfires visit emergency.wa.gov.au or listen to ABC radio.

Stay up to date with weather information by monitoring the latest forecasts and warnings at http://www.bom.gov.au/wa/

For more information on park and off road area closures contact the Parks and Wildlife Service Swan Coastal office on 9303 7700.