Wooroloo fire: Hundreds flock to evacuation centre as fire continues to threaten lives and homes

Daryna ZadvirnaThe West Australian
The young family-of-four received a text message about 2am to leave their home immediatel. (Left to right) Vines residents Taylor and Joel with their sons Aniken (3) and Mayson (5), who have had to evacuate their home in the middle of the night.
Camera IconThe young family-of-four received a text message about 2am to leave their home immediatel. (Left to right) Vines residents Taylor and Joel with their sons Aniken (3) and Mayson (5), who have had to evacuate their home in the middle of the night. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna/The West Australian

Hundreds of people have flocked to a Swan View evacuation centre as a huge fire threatening lives and homes to Perth’s north eastern suburbs spreads west.

The fire, which started in Wooroloo yesterday afternoon, has already burned through 7000 hectares, with residents in Ellenbrook, Aveley and the Vines were alerted that they were under emergency threat last night.

Among them was a young Vines family-of-four who received a text message about 2am to leave their home immediately and have had to seek shelter at a Brown Park evacuation centre.

“We had already smelt it—the smoke was, well it was black and it was everywhere,” Taylor told The West Australian.

“We could see the flames from our balcony.”

The young family-of-four received a text message about 2am to leave their home immediatel. (Left to right) Vines residents Taylor and Joel with their sons Aniken (3) and Mayson (5), who have had to evacuate their home in the middle of the night.
Camera IconThe young family-of-four received a text message about 2am to leave their home immediatel. (Left to right) Vines residents Taylor and Joel with their sons Aniken (3) and Mayson (5), who have had to evacuate their home in the middle of the night. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna/The West Australian

Taylor, her husband Joel and their two sons — aged 3 and 5 — said they weren’t sure where to go in the middle of the night due to the lockdown.

“It makes things more stressful, we weren’t sure where to go or who to go to,” Taylor said.

Firefighters are still battling an intense bushfire at Wooroloo, which remains at an Emergency Warning.
Camera IconFirefighters are still battling an intense bushfire at Wooroloo, which remains at an Emergency Warning. Credit: DFES Incident Photographers Evan Collis;Greg Bell and Brenden Scott/DFES

Another Vines family said while some of their neighbours decided to say behind, they didn’t want to leave anything to chance. 

“We have a big family so didn’t want to take any risks,” Tara Leader said.

“We haven’t seen a fire like it in 10 years.

“We don’t have any other family in the State so we’re glad we could come here (the Brown Park evacuation centre).”

The Leader family - Tess, Matt, Tara, Max, 11, Emilia and Ty. Pictured at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View.
Camera IconThe Leader family - Tess, Matt, Tara, Max, 11, Emilia and Ty. Pictured at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

If it wasn’t for her neighbour’s loud knock on the door in the middle of the night, Susie, her husband and their 15-month-old baby may have not been able to flee in time.

The Aveley residents and their door neighbours, who also have a young baby, said they were in shock when they found out about the fire threat.

“We have been keeping up with the news ... but we didn’t expect it,” Susie said.

“Our concern is that our little ones can’t wear masks ... we’re still concerned about COVID-19 with people (gathered here).”

Evacuees line up for food at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View.
Camera IconEvacuees line up for food at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

The Department of Communities has set up an evacuation centre at Brown Park Recreation Complex in Swan View.

With the numbers of bushfire evacuees growing, a second evacuation centre has been set up at Swan Active Midland on 16 Gray Dr, Midvale.

“People who have been personally directed to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, and anyone in a region subject to lockdown restrictions, should find alternative suitable premises and wear a mask,” DFES said 

“If this is not possible, proceed to the evacuation centre and identify yourself to centre staff immediately on arrival.

“Protocols are in place to minimise COVID-19 risk at the evacuation centre and you must follow the directions of centre staff.”

An emergency services command post has also been set up at Mundaring Arena.

Rhiannon Smith, with her children Lyra, 9, and Gracie, 6, evacuated from the Ellenbrook home at about 5.30am. Pictured at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View where residents have been evacuated to as the result of the Wooroloo fire. 2 FEBRUARY 2021
Camera IconRhiannon Smith, with her children Lyra, 9, and Gracie, 6, evacuated from the Ellenbrook home at about 5.30am. Pictured at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View where residents have been evacuated to as the result of the Wooroloo fire. 2 FEBRUARY 2021 Credit: Danella Bevis The West Australian

Hundreds of offers of help are also flowing in from community members and local businesses, putting their hands up to provide those in need with food, accommodation, shelter for their animals and help with towing cars.

Two locations set up to take evacuated horses, the State Equestrian Centre and Magic Millions, had to stand down after the fire continued to spread.

The fire in Wooloroo.
Camera IconThe fire in Wooloroo. Credit: DFES

More than 250 firefighters fought the flames overnight as hot windy conditions fanned the flames west.

There are reports that up to 20 homes have been lost, with many more under threat.

Firefighters are set to return to the impacted sites today to assess the damage to the homes.

Bushfire in the shire of Mundaring destroys homes.
Camera IconBushfire in the shire of Mundaring destroys homes. Credit: 9NEWS/9NEWS

An emergency warning is now in place for The Vines, Bailup, Ellenbrook, Gidgegannup, Milledon, Walyunga National Park, Upper Swan, Aveley, Avon Valley National Park, Red Hill, Belhus, Baskerville, Herne Hill, Bullsbrook, Wooroloo and Brigadoon.

DFES says residents in those areas are in danger and need to act immediately to survive.

For all the latest fire and emergency information go to www.emergency.wa.gov.au.

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