Wheatbelt schools reopen at Corrigin, Kulin, Wickepin and Kondinin but Babakin closed ‘until safe’ from fire

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Corrigin District High School.
Camera IconCorrigin District High School. Credit: Shire of Corrigin/Shire of Corrigin

Four Wheatbelt schools will reopen tomorrow after terrifying bushfires razed the region, but a fifth will stay closed until it is deemed safe for students and staff to return.

The Department of Emergency released a statement on Monday to say Wickepin and Kondinin Primary Schools would reopen tomorrow, as well as Corrigin and Kulin District High Schools.

Babakin Primary School will remain closed until it is safe for students and staff to return, with the locality smack in the middle of a Bushfire Watch and Act put in place by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

All five schools were closed on Monday as large bushfires tore through the Wheatbelt area, affecting towns from Bruce Rock in the North to Norman’s Lake in the south.

The DFES statement said Babakin would “not be safe” to reopen, due to bushfire activity and road closures.

Students returning to school will have plenty to talk about after blazes ripped through 60,000ha of farmland and bush on Sunday and Monday.

The Wheatbelt blazes, across seven local government areas, were both downgraded to Watch and Act by DFES on Monday after more than 24 hours at Bushfire Emergency level.

Crews on the ground reported flames up to 15 meters high in some bushland and they were met with support from the sky from three aerial tankers, three helicopters and two fixed wing air tractors.

WA Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said he believed it was the first time WA had battled four level three emergencies at once as well as several other smaller fires and incidents that occurred around the State.

He said the sheer amount of resources required to fight the unprecedented situation - against a backdrop of challenges posed by COVID-19 - was “extremely challenging”.

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