24 Nov 2011

Twenty homes destroyed as controlled fire goes wrong

2:59 pm on 24 November 2011

Extra resources have been brought in to fight a bushfire that has destroyed at least 20 properties near Margaret River in Western Australia.

An extra 150 professional firefighters, 27 fire appliances and a large number of bushfire volunteers were sent to the area overnight to fight the blaze, which began on Wednesday when two controlled burns in a national park spread out of control.

They join around fire crews already battling the blaze, which the ABC says has ripped through 1,800 hectares of forest and farming property near Prevelly and Kilcarnup.

Six water bombers - two helicopters and four planes - are also in the area.

Strong winds and temperatures in excess of 30 degrees are forecast for Thursday and Fire and Emergency Service Authority chief Wayne Gregson says the situation is unpredictable.

"It's going to be very tricky today, it's very dangerous, it's very unpredictable and we won't know for some time until we've got the upper hand."

Dozens of locals have been forced to flee their homes and take shelter in an evacuation centre.