Bushfire near Kununurra prompts watch and act warning

| 24.09,18. 01:08 AM |

Bushfire near Kununurra prompts watch and act warning

Photo: People in the Kununurra suburb of Lakeside have been told to stay indoors or defend their properties. (ABC News: Rebecca Nadge)

Residents in remote WA have spoken of the stress of defending homes as authorities downgrade an emergency warning to watch and act for the Kununurra suburb of Lakeside.

While the alert level has been downgraded, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said there was still a possible threat to lives and homes in the suburb, and also in an area in eastern Kununurra bounded by Lily Creek Lagoon, Weaber Plain Road, Ironwood Drive and the M1 Channel to the west, Mulligans Lagoon Road to the north and Stockman Road to the south east.

Three homes were damaged earlier after an out-of-control fire ravaged the remote town.

Dozens were evacuated while some residents stayed to defend their homes on Sunday afternoon. At one point DFES warned residents it was too late to leave and said they must shelter in their homes.

Local resident Natika Hawes-Wright said she had to help defend her neighbours' homes.

"People were away for the long weekend or out for the day, so there were spot fires in their yards. Simon and my son jumped over their fences," Ms Hawes-Wright said.

"One guy's washing was on fire on his line, so they put that out."

Lee Clucas says the blaze came to the end of her street.

"It has been absolutely crazy and terrifying, the park lit up, it jumped the fences of people's homes," she said.

"People's backyards, just the mulch in their backyards started burning, really scary stuff."

Wayne Cook from DFES said there had been reports of house damage.

"Mainly on the eastern side of Lakeside there have been about three reported cases, reported house fires where it's got into the roof space of three houses, at this stage I can't confirm how much damage has been done," he said.

"If people could just remain vigilant around any spot fires, again, we're doing the best we can with the resources we have, if people could just remain calm and if there are concerns go to the evacuation centre, or go to a safe place around their area."

A temporary evacuation centre, opened earlier this afternoon at the Kununurra Leisure Centre, has now closed, but firefighters continue to battle the blaze.

A number of roads, including Weaber Plain Road between Ironwood Drive and Mulligans Lagoon Road, have been closed, and people are being warned to avoid the area.


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