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News for January 25, 2022

Campgrounds in Danger as Bushfire Advice Extends to Augusta

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Numerous campgrounds, campsites, wineries, and other tourist destinations were evacuated on Thursday as a bushfire continues to threaten lives around the Boranup Forest near Margaret River (Australia).

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has issued a bushfire emergency warning in Leeuwin- Naturaliste National Park urging nearby residents to evacuate.

The alert is in effect for those located south of Redgate Road, west of the park boundary, south of Sebbes Road, and the north end from Point Road.

Local campgrounds and campsites that were closed include Conto campground, Conto coastal day-use site, Point Road campsite, and Boranup campsite.

Redgate Beach, as well as well-known caves, remain closed including Mammoth, Lake, Giants, and Calgardup.

WA Parks and Wildlife district fire coordinator Ed Hatherley said more than 100 firefighters had been working on the fire in the hopes to contain it.

“It’s certainly aggressive fire behavior,” he said.

While the weather helped efforts to put out the fire, firefighters had to battle the difficult terrain.

“[It is] very difficult for suppression because of the underground caves, so we can’t use traditional fire suppression techniques,” he said.

“We’re using heavy plant machines to cut fire breaks so we’re having to rely on aircraft to help suppress it,” Hatherley said.

The fire began at the junction of Caves and Calgardup road in Boranup.

A number of roads have been shut down including Boranup Drive and Caves Road starting from Redgate Road to Forest Grove Road.

The public can still leave the area through Bussell Highway and can seek refuge at the Margaret River Recreation Centre.

Ben Tannock, from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions stated that the fire was burning on the two sides of Caves Road, near tourist attractions in the national park.

“The fire is burning both sides of Caves Road north of Mammoth Cave and north of Lake Cave,” he said.

“It’s in an area known for its cast formations and is a problematic area for us… in terms of putting in machinery to create containment lines.”

A bushfire watch and act caution are also in effect in Redgate within the Shire of Augusta Margaret River for those living in the area bounded by Redgate Road to the north, Harrison road to the east, and Forest Grove Road to the South.

There hasn’t been any damage to property and no firefighters were injured as of the time of report; however, around 5,000 acres of forest have been damaged.

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