Friday, 24 January 2014

Kwinana Bush Fires

For the first time ever Mum and Dad had to evacuate their home of 46 years yesterday because of the threat from a bush fire burning a couple of kilometres away on the western side of the Golf Course. The Dept. of Fire and Emergency Services(DEFS) made automated phone calls to every-one in the affected area warning them they had roughly an hour to leave or to make ready to defend their property.

As this is such a rare event around here we don't even bother making evacuation plans or having a kit of essential items ready to grab and then run with. Around 3pm Elizabeth posted this photo from Rockingham Beach looking north to Kwinana, some 5 miles away...

Then fire warnings began to be posted on Facebook and they even mentioned Mum and Dad's road so I phoned to see if they knew of the danger. Mum was at home alone, not sure where to go or what to do really, Dad however had taken two friends/neighbours down to Rockingham for x-rays and treatment. I phoned the x-ray place to try to talk to him to warn him that the roads home were now blocked and that they had to evacuate. They'd already left so I phoned Mum again and she'd spoken to Steve-next-door who was going to stay and defend his house...he'd started the joint reticulation system on the front gardens to wet down as much as possible.

Mum then moved her golf car out of the carport to get her car out and bumped one of the carport supports causing some damage. We knew by now that she had to go to Council Offices where they'd set up an evacuation centre but Dad still wasn't home and wouldn't know of the danger or where she was.
Just by coincidence I'd cancelled an appt in Mandurah because of the heat so that meant I was at home when the fire became serious and I was able to help my parents, albeit long dostance!

This photo from the TEN news chopper shows the two fires, the denser one on the right is very close to Mum and Dad's home.

As Mum was finally driving up the road to safety along comes Dad with their friends so she put her car away and all four went to the council offices where they were very well cared for for the next 3-4 hours!

The fierce hot wind then changed direction slightly and sent the fire off towards the Dampier to Bunbury natural gas pipeline, the railway depot and many small industries and factories on Mandurah Road.
In all 17 helicopters were deployed to pick up and dump water on the fires...this one is picking up water at Kwinana Beach, photo by local resident, Anja Macvicar

Pic by the TEN new limited

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 this one was taken by local resident, David Ucyurek...
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 The Courier Newspaper

We have nothing but praise for the brave firefighters and the way the Kwinana Council handled the news reports and warnings and then caring for the evacuees...Mum said they were fed pizzas and Subway sandwiches as well as drinks.

It was 39C during the height of the blaze and now we hear that the fires were arson attacks...ABC News


  1. It looks like your folks live in a very pretty place, Sue. It is hard to believe that people would jeopardise lives and homes by lighting fires but they do! Glad your parents are okay.

  2. Bit close for comfort, Sue but am glad all were safe.

  3. That must a have been a bit scary for your Mum for a little while. I imagine that they will now make a plan as these heat waves will only increase in the future, thus making bushfires more frequent. Deliberate arson that endangers lives should be punishable my jail time, and lots of it. You often hear that a fire was caused by arson but you never hear what happens to those responsible. Perhaps they need to be made a public example to discourage others. Its not a joke.