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Ravensthorpe fire: Bushfire warning downgraded to watch and act as firefighters battle blaze west of Esperance

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Caleb RuncimanThe West Australian
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A bushfire emergency warning has been issued for people in WA's South Coasty.
Camera IconA bushfire emergency warning has been issued for people in WA's South Coasty. Credit: EmergencyWA/Supplied

An emergency-level bushfire on WA’s south coast has been downgraded after a change in conditions on the fire front but residents are still being warned to prepare.

People living in southern parts of Jerdacuttup in the Shire of Ravensthorpe were placed on an emergency warning on Monday as firefighters worked to douse a fast-moving, out-of-control bushfire.

However, about an hour later firefighters received a reprieve when conditions on the fire front changed, meaning the fire, while still not controlled, is now moving slowly.

The emergency warning was downgraded to a watch and act alert.

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It comes after a horrific weekend for emergency services as crews battled over 100 fires in the southern half of the state.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ watch and act alert is current for Middle Road to the north, Fence Road and Southern Ocean Road to the east, Springdale Road to the south and Mason Bay Road to the west in southern parts of Jerdacuttup including the eastern parts of Jerdacuttup Lake Nature Reserve.

“The alert level for this fire has been downgraded due to change in conditions and status along the fire front,” DFES said.

“If you are not prepared or you plan to leave, leave now if the way is clear.

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

“If you plan to stay and actively defend, do not rely on mains water pressure as it may be affected. You need to have access to an independent water supply, and start patrolling your property to put out spot fires.”

Windows, doors and evaporative air conditioning should be turned off and those who are not at home should not try to return.

The fire started in the Jerdacuttup Lake Nature Reserve after a lightning strike.

A Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions spokesperson confirmed a NSW water-bomber is currently flying towards the fire zone after arriving in Bunbury.

The large air tanker is capable of carrying 15,000 litres of water and will join several ground crews as the blaze continues to move.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson confirmed the Government was sourcing the C130 Hercules water-bomber from NSW to join the growing fight over the weekend.

There is also a bush fire watch and act alert for people in the area of Middle Road to the north, Fence Road to the east, Springdale Road to the south and Mason Bay Road to the west in Jerdacuttup Lakes Nature Reserve.

People in the area must leave if the way is clear as the bushfire conditions rapidly change.

If people bound by the watch and act alert wish to defend their homes they must make final preparations now.

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

On Saturday multiple bushfires burned through almost 2000ha and caused property damage across the Peel region.

DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm said hundreds of firefighters tackled the multiple fronts across the region.

“We were able to deal with the majority of those incidents between farmers, local bush fire brigade volunteers out in the Wheatbelt, and also career firefighters, volunteer firefighters, and firefighters from DBCA.”

Started by dry lightning strikes, the blazes in Serpentine and North Dandalup burned through 1561 and 113 hectares respectively.

About 100 residents across the fire zones attended a community meeting in Serpentine.

Stay up to date with the latest bushfire alerts by visiting emergency.wa.gov.au/

More to come.

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