Esperance ablaze

ESPERANCE residents were evacuated from theirhomes on Monday as two fires blazed across the town, threatening lives andhomes.

With fire conditions in Esperance at an all-timehigh, Monday’s temperature peaked at 40.7C, with wind gusts up to 50 km/h froma south-westerly direction.

Two-fixed wings aircraft were dispatched fromAlbany to assist, with at least one house confirmed as seriously damaged in theblazes.

According to the Department of Fire andEmergency Services, the first fire near Ocean Street in Sinclair was reportedto authorities just before 11am.

Ocean Street and John Street were closed off tothe public, as emergency services fought to prevent the flames from spreadingto a nearby school and houses.

Sinclair resident Jody Marsh said she initiallyfeared her house was in the path of the fire when she saw the smoke billowingfrom Sinclair.

“We saw the smoke coming from the area nearour house and we rushed home to grab a few things. The police encouraged us toevacuate but we decided to stay at our house.”

“The flames were right behind the EsperanceChristian Primary School. We stayed in our house with a couple a friends andwater.”

With the fire raging in adjacent bushland,Esperance Christian Primary School students were evacuated from their classesaround 11am and placed on a bus.

“We took the precautionary measure toremove the children from their classes and put them on a bus. We sat on the busfor a while and then the emergency services asked us to disembark from the bus.All the kids and staff then waited in one classroom near the exit. We kept thebus on standby,” Esperance Christian Primary principal Anne Tonkin said.

At 3.45pm, a bushfire all clear was issued forthe Sinclair area.

The second blaze in the Pink Lake area wasreported to emergency services around 12.30pm. According to DFES, the secondfire started between Spencer Street and Eleven Mile Beach Road, with confirmedreports that one house and three sheds were seriously damaged in the blaze.

Efforts were made to establish a containmentline on one side of the fire, with DFES confirming that the fire was finallybrought under control and contained around 9 pm.

An emergency bushfire warning was issued forresidents living in the vicinity of Dunkley Circuit, Barook Road, Eleven MileBeach Road, Spencer Road, Keenan Road and Sanctuary Crescent in Pink Lake inthe Shire of Esperance.

Residents were warned of the immediate dangerand were told to “act immediately” to survive, with a threat to livesand homes. Those who were not home at the time of the fires were warned it wastoo dangerous to return.

Fixed-wing water bombers and some 50 firefighters fought the fast-moving Pink Lake bushfire, which burned in anorth-easterly direction at about 1000 metres per hour, with embers flyingabout 200 metres ahead of the fire front.

In all, an estimated 380 hectares were destroyedin the Pink Lake area, with an additional 15 hectares in the Sinclair area.

Police media sources said that at least one ofthe fires appeared to have been deliberately lit. Investigations arecontinuing.

Tuesday night’s back burning around Pink Lake in progress. Photo DAVID GREEN

A photo of the bushfire which threatened homes near Esperance on Monday. Photo: Jo Kudumba, Facebook.

Town fire on Simms Street.

Town fire on Simms Street.

Town fire on Simms Street.

Town fire on Simms Street.

Town fire on Simms Street.

Town fire on Simms Street.

Fire crews on way to a fire on Simms Street

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