Monday 18 December 2017

Bushfires in Western Australia force residents onto beach

Residents of the Margaret River region of Western Australia were forced to take shelter on the local beach as bushfires swept the area destroying over 30 homes.

Locals fled to the ocean after a bushfire, started by Australia's Department of Environment and Conservation, whipped out of control.

Controlled fires or 'burns' are commonly used in Australia to lessen the threat of more serious fires.

However, the blaze, which escaped from the prescribed burn in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park on Wednesday, has now destroyed 28 houses and nine holiday chalets over 3,177 hectares.

Around 400 firefighters battled the blaze as some residents sought refuge in community centres and others spent the night sleeping on the beach as flames reached sand dunes nearby.

While an emergency warning remains in place, authorities are hoping milder weather over the next few days and light rain forecast for Friday will help contain the flames.

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