Couple’s house destroyed by York fire

Rebecca Le MayCountryman
Camera IconCredit: Supplied

A hobby farm has been razed by a bushfire east of Perth, with the shire president saying it is horrible the lovely couple who own it have lost everything.

The blaze in the Shire of York in WA’s Wheatbelt region was reported on Friday afternoon and was the subject of an emergency warning but the alert level has been downgraded to a watch and act.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services confirmed 100 firefighters had battled to control the fire at Daliak, St Ronans, Wilberforce and Inkpen in the historic town’s west and north.

About 50 Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, Bush Fire Service, Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services, Parks and Wildlife Service firefighters are on the scene.

Shire of York president Denese Smythe said one house occupied by a “really lovely couple” and a shed was destroyed not long after the fire started.

Ms Smythe said it was a hobby farm just off the Great Southern Highway.

The couple had been living in the area for a few years, she said.

“They’ve got food friends here and good support,” Ms Smythe said.

“They’ll be OK.

“It’s dreadful, it’s horrible — you lose everything. Your treasures, your memories.”

The blaze has been contained and is no longer moving, with firefighters saving about 20 homes.

“They’re a little concerned about the wind,” Ms Smythe said.

Temperatures reached 32C in York on Saturday and are expected to steadily rise to a maximum of 42C on Thursday.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said “unrelenting” easterly winds would persist throughout the day, pick up overnight and continue on Sunday.

Gusts up to 45km/h were expected on Saturday morning, easing slightly to up to 35km/h in the afternoon and on Sunday.

Ms Smythe said a second shed might have been lost, but this was unconfirmed.

It’s dreadful, it’s horrible — you lose everything. Your treasures, your memories.

Denese Smythe

She said bushland was dense in the affected areas and residents had been evacuated but she was still worried for hobby farmers in the area.

Ms Smythe said there was currently no need for an evacuation centre and hopefully that would remain the case.

“The CWA ladies were manned and ready to go but not needed,” she said.

“Our local barkey made 80 rolls and donated them — they wouldn’t accept payment.”

DFES has advised people in the affected areas who were not prepared to fight the blaze or plan to leave to do so now if the way is clear.

The fire is contained but not controlled with windy conditions likely to blow embers into people’s backyards.

Its latest update, at 12.15pm said mains water pressure may be affected and those staying needed access to an independent water supply.

A watch and act is in place for people Helena Road, Ashworth Road, Mokine Road, Hamersley Siding Road and Wambyn Road, Boyercutty Road and Mokine Road in parts of Daliak, St Ronans, Wilberforce, Inkpen in the Shire of York.

“If you are well prepared and plan to actively defend your home, make final preparations now,” DFES warns.

“If you are not at home, do not try to return as conditions in the area could be very dangerous.”

Parts of Daliak, St Ronans, Wilberforce and Inkpen as well as Balladong and Woottating are without power, and crews are working to restore services.

Great Southern Highway is closed between Yarra Road and Cut Hill Road.

Motorists are asked to avoid the area, reduce speed and drive carefully due to smoke.

The fire started near the intersection of Great Southern Highway and Ashworth Road in Daliak and has burnt 726ha. The cause is unknown.

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