10 Jan 2016

Deadly Australian bushfire contained

9:07 pm on 10 January 2016

The massive Western Australian bushfire that has raged for five days and claimed two lives has been contained but not controlled, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) says, as some evacuees are allowed to return home.

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Photo: AFP / Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Calmer conditions overnight and today have allowed firefighters to build containment lines around the fire, which has a perimeter in excess of 226km.

An emergency warning for the blaze, which all but razed the small historic town of Yarloop, remains for people in the area east of Waroona, Hamel and Yarloop and surrounding areas in the Shires of Harvey and Waroona.

DFES has downgraded the alert level to watch and act for Preston Beach and Lake Clifton, Harvey, Cookernup and the Waroona town site.

Waroona residents are being allowed to return to their homes.

Officials have confirmed the bushfire, that has been raging for four days claimed its first lives, while two other people are still unaccounted for.

The police say human remains have been found in burnt-out homes in the town of Yarloop, which was virtually wiped off the map on Thursday.

The remains are believed to be those of two men aged 77 and 73.

The massive bushfire destroyed most of the buildings in Yarloop - emergency services have updated the number of properties destroyed to 143.

The fire, which started on Wednesday has so far burnt through more than 70,000 hectares and is moving slowly south.

Firefighters battling the blaze near Yarloop.

Photo: AFP / Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Next in its path is the town of Harvey, whose 2500 residents have been told to leave, or actively defend their properties.

The police last night went door-to-door in Harvey telling people to get out.

About 80 firefighters were battling a separate fire that was threatening lives and homes near the town of Esperance, in the south of the state.

People in the area have been told it's too late to leave, and they need to actively defend their homes.

-ABC

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