Fire alarm: Homes feared lost as lightning sparks bushfire emergencies across southern WA

Liam CroyAlbany Advertiser
The fire in Jerramungup.
Camera IconThe fire in Jerramungup. Credit: Chelsea Brooks/Chelsea Brooks

UPDATE 12AM: There are fears homes have been lost after lightning sparked bushfire chaos in the south of WA.

Bushfire emergency warnings have been downgraded for the towns of Jerramungup and Hopetoun, and for the Mount Sheridan area in the Shire of Lake Grace.

Lightning is believed to be the cause of more than 15 bushfires across the region since 2pm on Friday afternoon.

The Jerramungup blaze was reported at 2.52pm east of the CBH Group facility off the Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road.

There are reports that volunteer firefighters and aerial support — including a large air tanker — managed to save homes on the southern edge of the town.

A bushfire advice remains in place for people part of the Jerramungup townsite after the fire burned through about 2000 hectares.

The Jerramungup fire.
Camera IconThe Jerramungup fire. Credit: Judy Kerse

Evacuation centres at the Jerramungup Town Hall and Boxwood Hill Combined Sport Club were closed late on Friday night.

About 110km to the east of Jerramungup, the town of Hopetoun was also on red alert on Thursday afternoon.

The Hopetoun fire started about 2pm near the intersection of Hamersley Drive and Seaview Way, west of Hopetoun.

A watch and act is in place for people in Crystal Park and western parts of the Hopetoun townsite in an area bounded by Hamersley Drive and Lechanaultia Drive to the north, Hopetoun Ravensthorpe Road and Veal Street to the east, the coastline to the south, Seaview Way to the west a direct line running north to south from the west end of Lechanaultia Drive to Hamersely Drive

The emergency warning has been downgraded because the fire is now stationary, but it remains uncontrolled and uncontained.

Firefighters are strengthening containment lines.

A view of the Hopetoun fire.
Camera IconA view of the Hopetoun fire. Credit: Kerry Chapman

At 5.30pm, a watch and act warning was issued for the town of Bremer Bay, with a possible threat to lives and homes.

The fire, which has spread across 650 hectares, started near the intersection of Dillon Bay Road and Minarup Road about 3.22pm.

The watch and act is in place for people bounded by Borden-Bremer Road and Devil Creek to the north, Bremer Bay Lookout Tower and Point Henry Road to the east, Black Rocks Road and the coastline to the south and Dillon Bay Road to the west.

An evacuation centre at the Ravensthorpe Entertainment Centre and Sporting Complex was closed by 11pm.

Further north, there have been about eight bushfires reported in the Newdegate and Lake Grace area since 2pm on Friday.

The Mount Sheridan fire started about 5.23pm near the intersection of Oakley Road and Tonkin Road, with an emergency warning issued just after 6.30pm.

The Mount Sheridan and Newdegate fires have been downgraded to advice.
Camera IconThe Mount Sheridan and Newdegate fires have been downgraded to advice. Credit: Emergency WA

Nearby, the town of Newdegate was placed under a watch and act just after 5pm.

The Newdegate fire started near Morton Road in Lake Biddy about 2.10pm.

Rain has led to those fire warnings being downgraded to an advice, which applies to a vast area across the shires of Lake Grace and Kulin.

The entire region — including Jerramungup, Lake Grace, Newdegate and Hopetoun — was under a storm warning on Friday afternoon with damaging weather expected.

Wind gusts of 137km/h was recorded in Jacup at 2.27pm.

A fire burning in Fitzgerald National Park has forced the closure of the park.

For the latest alerts, visit the Emergency WA website.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails