Landmark under threat from bushfires

 

A huge bushfire is threatening a major landmark in New South Wales as blazes also burn in Western Australia.

Residents in the path of a major blaze in the Wollemi National Park, northwest of Sydney have been told it's too late to leave as the fire pushes closer to their homes.

The alert was issued for the Gospers Mountain blaze, which is almost 370,000 hectares in size, on Sunday afternoon.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says the fire has crossed Bowen Creek, south of Mount Wilson.

The blaze is moving towards Mount Wilson, Mount Irvine, Mount Tomah and Berambing.

Mount Tomah is the home of the heritage listed Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens one of the regions's major landmarks known from its cool climate plants that would fare less well at lower elevations closer to Sydney.

The Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mt Tomah is under threat from the bushfires close to Sydney.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mt Tomah is under threat from the bushfires close to Sydney.

The Bells Line of Road, one of two roads cross the Blue Mountains, is closed between Bilpin and Bell. It passes the Blue Mountain Botanic Gardens. Motorists should avoid the area and use the Great Western Highway instead.

In WA, firefighters are battling a blaze north of Perth that's already burned through almost 12,000 hectares.

Residents near Guilderton, Woodridge, Gabbadah, Wilbinga, Caraban, Seabird, Yeal, Redfield Park, Sovereign Hill, Seatrees and Breakwater Estates were warned "there is a threat to lives and homes".

"If the way is clear, leave now for a safer place," a warning from the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services said. "Do not wait and see, leaving at the last minute is deadly."

"Go to a room in your home away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.

Choose a room with two exits and water such as a kitchen or laundry," the warning read.

Parts of Beermullah, Muckenburra, Wanerie, Two Rocks, Neergabby and Yanchep were also under threat. However, firefighters have kept that bushfire under control. But the threat isn't over yet, officials have said.

Firefighters have been battling the blaze since Wednesday. (AAP Image/Supplied, DFES Incident Photographer Morten Boe)
Firefighters have been battling the blaze since Wednesday. (AAP Image/Supplied, DFES Incident Photographer Morten Boe)

Those unable to leave their properties are being told to get ready to shelter in their home. For those who aren't at home, they've been told it's too dangerous to return.

A similar warning is in place for residents south of Perth in the shire of Collie, east of Bunbury.

An out of control fire has burned through 7400 hectares there since it was first reported shortly before 1pm (WA time) yesterday.

55 firefighters are battling to halt its spread.

Aerial support is also being sent to protect crews and homes.

The cause of both fires is yet to be determined.

HELP ARRIVES FROM EAST COAST FIRES

Earlier on Sunday morning, Australia's biggest firefighting aircraft landed in Perth to assist firefighters battling the massive blazes, as bushfires continue to burn across the country.

The Boeing 737 tanker flew to Perth from NSW overnight to assist as forests near the north Perth suburb of Yanchep burn.

A Boeing 737 air tanker has arrived in Perth to assist in the firefighting effort.
A Boeing 737 air tanker has arrived in Perth to assist in the firefighting effort.

Firefighters warn the blaze could continue for more than a week, having already burned through nearly 12,000 hectares of bush since sparking on Wednesday.

The fire has also destroyed at least one house and a petrol station, but firefighters have saved over 6,000 homes according to the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

A massive fire burning on the coast of Perth has firefighters warning people to leave the area.
A massive fire burning on the coast of Perth has firefighters warning people to leave the area.

Heatwave conditions are not helping.

Tops of 40 degrees are predicted for Perth on Sunday, as well as wind gusts up to 45km/h.

Around 400 career and volunteer firefighters are battling the Yanchep blaze and conducted backburning overnight in an effort to stop it spreading further.

SES volunteers are also attending.

In NSW, the massive Gospers Mountain bushfire that has been burning in Wollemi National Park for over a month now, continues.

NSW Rural Fire Service said that fire is being contained.

The fire has now burned through over 367,000 hectares after merging with several others.

RFS crews continue to contain the Gospers Mountain Fire (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
RFS crews continue to contain the Gospers Mountain Fire (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

While an emergency warning and total fire ban is in place for the WA fires, a watch and act warning has also been issued for parts of Yanchep, Two Rocks, Breton Bay, Seabird, Gabbadah, Wanerie, Ledge Point and Eglinton.

The fire began on Wednesday and authorities fear it could burn for several more days.

Evacuation centres have been set up at the Gumblossom Community Centre and Granville Civic Centre, where community meetings will be held at 10am and 2.30pm, respectively.

Water supplies to Woodridge risk being cut off, while residents at Two Rocks and Yanchep have been hit with disruptions to internet and mobile phone services.

Meanwhile, Western Power says it has replaced more than 27 power poles and five kilometres of lines but more damage is expected.

An emergency warning is also in place for parts of Yourdamung Lake, northeast of Bunbury.


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