A bushfire that destroyed more than 2000ha and threatened to wipe out one of the South West’s quaintest country towns was sparked by a 30m tree falling on a power line, authorities have confirmed. The Bridgetown fire was reported on February 5 and quickly got out of control, destroying one house and forcing the evacuation of Bridgetown Hospital’s emergency department. A Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman confirmed on Tuesday the blaze was “accidental” and “caused by a tree branch falling on to electrical infrastructure”. Western Power said the power line was located on a farm at Hester but suggested the landowner was not at fault. “Investigations indicate that the Bridgetown fire was caused by a spark from a 30 metre tree falling onto a power line that was located on a farming property in Hester near Bridgetown,” a Western Power spokesperson said. “The tree that fell was located within the road reserve adjacent to the property and well beyond the vegetation clearance zone land occupiers are required to maintain around these powerlines.” The arson squad was initially called out to investigate the Bridgetown fire, however suspicious circumstances have been ruled out. The ferocious blaze also destroyed a shed, some equipment and a vehicle at the Bridgetown Shire Depot; one shed on a private property; and a number of sheds at Bridgetown’s waste facility and transfer station. The Timber Treaters business in nearby Hester, about 9km north-east of Bridgetown, suffered extensive damage, with hundreds of tonnes of treated timber burnt, leading to the detection of high levels of arsenic and other toxins in the area. Hester and Bridgetown residents were subsequently called to a community meeting and told they could not return to their homes while hazardous material workers removed toxic piles of ash and dust. The Bridgetown fire was one of four major bushfires that simultaneously ripped through WA’s South West and Wheatbelt regions in early February, including massive blazes at Denmark, Narrogin and Corrigin. The fires sparked emergency warnings and burnt through more than 60,000ha, destroying vast tracts of farmland and thousands of livestock. DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm at the time described the situation as “challenging from a resourcing point of view”. “I don’t recall a time where we’ve had four level-three bushfires occurring at the same time, as well as dealing with a state of emergency around a pandemic,” he said. Authorities determined the Denmark fire was not suspicious, while the cause of the Narrogin fire was still being investigated. The Corrigin fire — which started in Shackleton, about 58km to the north, and which destroyed 40,000ha — was also deemed accidental. DFES said the fire was believed to be caused by an authorised stubble burn off conducted at a farm several days earlier, which “reignited during catastrophic fire conditions” on February 6.