3 Feb 2015

Winds help save WA homes

8:39 pm on 3 February 2015

Favourable winds have helped firefighters save 50 homes from an out-of-control bushfire burning near Northcliffe in Western Australia's south-west.

Two emus walk through the smoke-filled Pinjar Pine Plantation in Wanneroo, north Perth, after a fire swept through the area.

Two emus walk through the smoke-filled Pinjar Pine Plantation in Wanneroo, north Perth, after a fire swept through the area. Photo: AAP

However, a bushfire emergency warning remains in place for people in the Northcliffe township and surrounding areas, including south of Middleton Road, east of Gabbedy Road and west of Deeside Coast Road.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has warned that the Northcliffe township and surrounding subdivisions are indefensible and residents should relocate to a safer place.

WA assistant DFES commissioner Bradley Stringer said crews had worked intensely but residents were still being urged to evacuate.

"We've had a good majority of residents leave, we've had other residents who've chosen to stay and defend," he said.

"It's still safe to leave at the moment so that's what we're requesting residents to do."

This morning the fire jumped Windy Harbour Road and is burning in a south-westerly direction.

Light winds have slowed the spread of the fire in the township but it is travelling at more than 500 metres an hour in other areas, with spotting up to 100 metres ahead of the fire front.

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Photo: Twitter / ABC

Burning for five days

The bushfire has been burning for five days and has burnt through 20,000 hectares.

About 130 firefighters are at the scene, as are 35 support staff.

One property - an unoccupied farmhouse - was destroyed by the flames on Monday.

At a community meeting in Pemberton, residents were told it could be days before they are allowed back to their homes.

A DFES spokesman told residents a wind change was predicted for Wednesday, which could push the fire westwards.

The risk to Northcliffe "is real, it's something we are gravely concerned about", he said.

Police conducted a doorknock of houses in Northcliffe earlier today, recommending people evacuate to Pemberton, where DFES has set up an emergency relocation centre.

Northcliffe High School has been closed until further notice, as have a number of camping and recreation sites in the area, including the Munda Biddi Trail and Bibbulmun Track from Pemberton to Walpole.

- ABC