| 20.02,19. 02:53 PM |
Bushfire emergency: Warning for Balingup and homes threatened near Nannup, Bridgetown
Photo: A bushfire watch and act alert has now been extended to Balingup. (ABC News)
An emergency warning remains in place for an out-of-control bushfire that is threatening lives and homes in an area popular with holidaymakers as it burns through a pine plantation in the Shires of Donnybrook-Balingup and Nannup.
The fire, which was first reported on Tuesday afternoon, has burnt through 2,200 hectares in an area bounded by state forests that is home to farms and holiday accommodation.
The emergency warning applies to an area bounded by Cundinup-Kirup Road and Ferndale Road, Southampton Road, Barker Road and Cundinup-Dudinyillup Road in the central part of Southampton.
A watch and act warning is also current for people in an area bounded by Vasse Highway, Cundinup-Kirup Road, Upper Capel Road, Southwest Highway, Southampton Road and Stallard Road in the northern part of Southampton in the Shires of Donnybrook-Balingup and Nannup.
This includes parts of the town of Balingup.
The number of firefighters battling the blaze has doubled to 180, with support from aerial tankers.
An evacuation centre has been set up at the Nannup Recreation Centre.
Machinery suspected to have sparked blaze
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) said it was investigating whether machinery started the fire.
"We believe that it may have been a machine that was operating in the plantation, but that's under investigation at the moment," spokesman Paul Roberts said.
He said the fire was being fanned by easterly winds of up to 30 kilometres per hour ahead of a forecast south-westerly change in the afternoon.
"We're still a little worried about the north-eastern side of the fire with those changing south-westerly winds," he said.
He said there was more private property on the north-eastern side, as well as a nature reserve.
"People should be actively monitoring their surroundings and enacting their bushfire survival plan," Mr Roberts said.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is warning residents that burning embers may be blown around homes.
It has burnt through 2,200 hectares since it was first reported at 2:42pm yesterday.
Linda Morton-Sharp lives 1.5 kilometres from the fire on Nannup-Balingup Road and said she was staying to defend her 120-acre property.
"There's a lot of smoke, it's quite windy here. I can hear the bombers over just behind our house," she said.
"We've got pretty good resources. We've got fire units here, there's a couple of trucks that have come here already, we've got a lot of green grass around our house and our stables, retic in our paddocks so even if we lose power everything stays wet.
"We don't have neighbours, we have a lot of bush on one side that is a bit of a worry and we have winery on the other side where no one actually lives, so we're kind of the only ones here."
Ms Morton-Sharp said she was "confident we will be fine".
The fire started near Radiata Road in Southampton but the cause is not yet known.
A community meeting has been scheduled for 12:00pm today at the Nannup Recreation and Community Centre.
A number of roads are closed in the area, and authorities are urging motorists to reduce speed, and drive carefully due to smoke.
The Bibbulmun Track is also closed between Spring Valley Road and the Southampton Bridge, and the Blackwood Campsite and Wrights Bridge Recreation site are also shut.