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Donnybrook bushfire emergency: Raging inferno in State’s South West continues to spread

Claire Sadler and Brianna DuganThe West Australian
Donnybrook bushfire -
Camera IconDonnybrook bushfire - Credit: Djani Begood Lausevic/Facebook

Evacuation warnings in the State’s South West have expanded as a bushfire continues to rage on.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services re-issued the red alert for the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup about 10.40am on Wednesday, warning residents there is a threat to lives and homes.

The inferno has burnt through more than 3000 hectares of land impacting a valuable logging area and encroaching on properties.

The bushfire is moving in a north and north-westerly direction.

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Those bounded by Collie-Preston, Laymans, Rosewood, Preston, Grimwade, Lawrence, Chapman Roads, Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Road and south of the Collie-Preston Road and Best Road intersection are urged to “act immediately to survive”.

The Bibbulman Track was closed south of Collie just before 8pm.

DFES said the safest way to leave was by heading north on Collie-Preston Road or east / south on Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Road.

Emergency Warning and Watch and Act in the Shire of Donnybrook. Pictures is the smoke from the bushfire.
Camera IconEmergency Warning and Watch and Act in the Shire of Donnybrook. Pictures is the smoke from the bushfire. Credit: DFES/Supplied
Emergency Warning and Watch and Act in the Shire of Donnybrook. Pictures is the smoke from the bushfire.
Camera IconEmergency Warning and Watch and Act in the Shire of Donnybrook. Pictures is the smoke from the bushfire. Credit: DFES/Supplied

More than 44 fire appliances are working to battle the raging inferno including several water bombers.

A community meeting will be held at 2pm, Thursday at the Donnybrook Recreation Centre.

A second evacuation centre has opened up at the Boyup Brook Community Centre, with residents urged to head there now.

“If the way is clear, leave now for a safer place,” a DFES statement read.

“Do not wait and see, leaving at the last minute is deadly.

“If you cannot leave, you need to get ready to shelter in your home.”

DFES says if it’s too late to leave, residents need to go to a room in their home they can easily escape from and that is away from the fire front.

Those who aren’t home cannot return as it’s too dangerous.

Several roads are closed in the area including Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Road between South West Highway and Charlie Creek Road and between Grimwade Road and Morrissey Road, and Collie Preston Road between Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Road and Best Road.

Donnybrook bushfire - Fighting fires isn’t just about fire trucks. It takes a whole team working in front and behind the scenes to keep our communities safe.
Camera IconDonnybrook bushfire - Fighting fires isn’t just about fire trucks. It takes a whole team working in front and behind the scenes to keep our communities safe. Credit: Busselton Volunteer Fire & Rescue/Supplied

The blaze sparked on Tuesday morning, prompting firefighters to place the area under an emergency warning.

After several hours the bushfire was brought under control and downgraded to a watch and act alert, with DFES saying the cause of the fire was lightning.

As of Wednesday morning, the fire was upgraded to an emergency warning for residents in Glen Mervyn, Numballup, Noggerup, and Yabberup.

A bushfire watch and act is in place for the Noggerup townsite and parts of Mumballup, Yabberup, and Preston National Park.

Those bound by the orange alert are urged to keep up to date with the latest warning and implement their bushfire survival plan now.

Donnybrook bushfire -
Camera IconDonnybrook bushfire Credit: Candice Lavis/Facebook

DFES says there is a possible threat to lives and homes as the raging inferno is approaching the area.

Residents should leave now if the way is clear before it’s too late.

Motorists travelling in the area are urged to drive with extreme caution and give way to emergency service vehicles.

Smoke will impact visibility in the area.

The Bureau of Meteorology said heatwave conditions will continue for parts of the State over the next few days and into the weekend, causing the fire rating to jump from high to extreme.

“In south west Western Australia, dry lighting sparked a number of bushfires in recent days,” a BOM spokesperson said.

“Fires on the landscape, combined with high temperatures and gusty winds have created dangerous conditions in some areas.

“The fire danger rating remains high in Western Australia and will increase to extreme over the weekend.”

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