Yanchep bushfire uses about 4.7m litres of water

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The Georgia Peach air-crane, which has been fighting fires in Greece, has arrived in WA. Picture: DFES

FIREFIGHTERS have given the all clear for the Yanchep bushfire, which consumed big quantities of water, while the state government announced a big firefighting helicopter is back in WA.

The all clear was given yesterday Tuesday, December 23 about 4pm on the same day as WA’s firefighting aerial fleet officially welcomed the Erickson air-crane known as Georgia Peach.

When announcing Georgia Peach’s addition to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ Parks and Wildlife’s aerial fleet the McGowan Government said this year’s bushfire season had been the busiest with the state’s aerial fleet already having carried out 1493 water drops.

The Yanchep bushfire accounted for about 4.7 million litres of the 8.9m litres of water used so far this year to fight bushfires.

Potentially the Yanchep bushfire put up to 20,000 people at risk in the City of Wanneroo – according to the city (2017 stats) Yanchep has a population of 11,770, Two Rocks 4122 and Eglinton 4148.

The total population of the Shire of Gingin is about 5000 but it was only some of the localities on the western side of the shire that were considered to be at risk.

The cause of the bushfire is still under investigation.

On December 14 at the Carabooda incident control centre when DFES incident control officer Andy Hinton was asked if the Yanchep bushfire had been caused by an exploding Western Power power pole he would only say they knew where the bushfire had started and it was still being investigated but was not suspicious.

Yanchep News Online understands the bushfire started sometime in the morning of  Wednesday, December 11 in the S-bends on Wanneroo Rd near the Yanchep Beach Rd intersection and that it was thought to have been extinguished.

But at 3.07pm DFES put out a bushfire watch and act for Yanchep National Park and then about an hour later at 4.14pm that was upgraded to an emergency warning for the national park as well as Old Yanchep Rd and Yanchep Beach Rd including Yanchep Golf estate.

Then less than an hour later at 5.02pm residents in the Yanchep town centre were receiving texts messages advising them of the emergency warning and telling them if the way was clear they should leave the area.

All that remains of a house near Yanchep Service Station both of which were destroyed in the Yanchep bushfire earlier this month. Picture: Anita McInnes

As the bushfire raced along Yanchep Beach Rd it quickly destroyed beehives and a house as well as the Yanchep Service Station owned by the Vaz family.

By December 14, there were 400 firefighters fighting the blaze, which burnt about 13,000ha between Wanneroo Rd, Yanchep, Seatrees and Breakwater estates, Two Rocks and Woodridge.

It also threatened Guilderton and other localities in the Shire of Gingin.

During the bushfire, firefighters including personnel from the Parks and Wildlife Service, Bush Fire Service, Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services and the Career Fire and Rescue Service saved more than 6000 homes in the area.

DFES said the bushfire all clear had been issued for Guilderton, Gabbadah, Eglinton, Sovereign Hill, Redfield Park, Yanchep, Two Rocks, Neergabby, Caraban, Wilbinga, Woodridge, Seatrees and Breakwater estates in the Shire of Gingin and the City of Wanneroo.

But people were being reminded to not walk on ground that had been burnt as there were still risks posed by falling branches from burnt trees, as well as smouldering, unburnt pockets within the fireground.

DFES said while the danger had passed people needed to remain vigilant in case the situation changed.

The Yanchep National Park has since re-opened but walk trails remain closed until further notice.

The Wilbinga Conservation Park and adjacent state forest remain closed.