3 Feb 2015

Residents told to leave fire-threatened town

7:55 am on 3 February 2015

The West Australia town of Northcliffe threatened by an out of control bushfire is "indefensible" and authorities are urging people to leave immediately.

The fire, started by lightning on Friday in Shannon National Park, is approaching properties on the outskirts of the town of about 400 people in the state's south.

A Department of Fire and Emergency Services alert warned residents it was not safe to stay, the ABC reports.

Shire president Wade DeCampo said the situation for the tiny town, about 350km south of Perth, was serious.

"Northcliffe is a timber town, an old timber town so it's surrounded by forest, it's surrounded by national park," he said.

The fire is being described as strong and erratic, and moving in a north-north-westerly direction. Flames up to 20 metres high have been reported.

About 95 firefighters are at the scene protecting houses and strengthening containment lines, along with 60 support staff and a number of aerial water bombers.

An emergency relocation point has been set up in the neighbouring town of Pemberton.

Western Australia's firefighters have already battled 2900 fires this year, including more than 100 caused by lightning in the past week alone.