Firefighters continue to battle out-of-control WA bushfires | photos

FRIDAY: Favourable weather conditions have allowed firefighters to get on top of the biggest bushfire ever seen in Western Australia's South West.

An emergency warning remains in place for the forrest-enveloped town of Northcliffe but the risk had eased considerably.

Calmer winds and cooler temperatures have given firefighters a reprieve. 

Applause rang out at a community meeting in Pemberton when news broke that the firefighters were winning the battle. 

Another community meeting will be held at the Pemberton Mill, Hallon Brockman Street in Pemberton at 12noon today. 

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services have confirmed two homes were lost in the blaze which has burnt more than 80,000 hectares. 

Meanwhile, a bushfire in the Shire of Boddington is now threatening the nearby town of Quindanning. 

The out-of-control fire is quickly moving east and burning the forest on both sides of the Hotham and Murray rivers. 

Community meetings will be held at the Boddington Bowling Club today at 10am and 5pm with one home and five sheds confirmed lost. 

Residents in the South West and the Perth metropolitan area woke to a blanket of smoke but the Department of Fire and Emergency Services have asked the public to only call 000 to report a new fire. 

THURSDAY: The massive Western Australian bushfire in Northcliffe has now burnt for a week and the size of the effected area continues to increase. 

The fire in the township of Northcliffe and the settlement of Windy Harbour have now burnt more than 80,000 hectares and has a perimetre of more than 240 kilometres. 

It is understood the fire is now within one kilometre of the Northcliffe townsite. 

A bushfire emergency warning is still in place with residents told their is an active threat to lives and homes.

One dwelling and shed have been confirmed lost.

Last night, Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Shire of Manjimup president Wade De Campo to offer federal assistance. 

A community meeting will be held at the Pemberton Mill Hall on Brockman Street in Pemberton at 12 noon today. 

Meanwhile, a Bushfire Emergency Warning also remains in place for southern part of Lower Hotham in the Shires of Boddington and Collie.

This fire has burnt through more than 32,000 hectares with one house and two sheds confirmed lost.

View of the Boddington bushfire from Collie-Williams road.

View of the Boddington bushfire from Collie-Williams road.

A bushfire emergency warning remains in place for people in an area bounded by Pinjarra-Williams Road, Collie-Williams Road, Asquith Road, Norm Road, Collie-Tallanalla Road, Trees Road, Myles Avenue, Lancaster Road, Kent Road, Dupont Road, Dooganally Road, Lemercier Road and George Road in Lower Hotham in the Shires of Boddington and Collie.

For the latest warning visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website

A total fire ban has been declared for Thursday, February 5 for all local governments in the Perth Metropolitan, Midwest-Gascoyne, Goldfields-Midlands, South West, Lower South West and Great Southern Regions. 

This includes all of Western Australia, except for the Pilbara and Kimberley. 

The ban has been declared due to a high demand on firefighting resources across the State, including two large fires in the South West, and a need to maintain a capability to respond to further fires in all regions. 

WEDNESDAY: A number of serious bushfires are continuing to burn across Western Australia with an on-going threats to lives and homes. 

Out-of-control fires in Northcliffe, Boddington and Windy Harbour have been fought since the weekend with no-sign of when they will end. 

More than 100 Victorian firefighters arrived in Western Australia on Tuesday were briefed on Wednesday morning and are expected to hit the fire front on Thursday morning. 

On Wednesday, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said the size of the Northcliffe fire had doubled overnight from 26,000 hectares to 48,000 hectares. 

At a community meeting on Wednesday morning, Incident Controller Greg Maires told residents the fire was out-stripping anything the fire crews could do. 

"We can't keep up with this fire and I must be quite frank – there is a grave and imminent threat to the Northcliffe community," Mr Maires said. 

Northcliffe and Windy Harbour families have fled to an emergency refuge in Pemberton in the wake of bushfires engulfing their communities.

On Wednesday afternoon Collie residents were urged to have an escape plan ready as smoke clouds filled the air north of the town as the Boddington bushfire crossed into the Shire of Collie.  

Collie residents are being warned to prepare themselves for the threat of bushfires as smoke engulfs the town. Photo: Lisa Gillespie

Collie residents are being warned to prepare themselves for the threat of bushfires as smoke engulfs the town. Photo: Lisa Gillespie

WA career and volunteer firefighters have been working tirelessly over the last week, battling blazes across the State and saving countless lives and hundreds of homes.

To assist in the effort, 137 Victorian firefighters were flown in to provide interstate support for the State's emergency response efforts. 

Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Wayne Gregson said the efforts of WA firefighters were admirable and are continuing throughout the state.

"Firefighters have battled hundreds of fires since Thursday and are doing an extraordinary job to bring them under control despite difficult conditions. 

"Hundreds of homes and Western Australian lives have been saved this week, but with weather staying the same until Thursday, our troops need to be rested if they are to continue their excellent work. 

"That is why I have made the request from our Victorian counterparts this morning. Western Australia has provided support to other states over many years and we are grateful to see this assistance being reciprocated.”

"I am most pleased to acknowledge the inter-agency and interstate cooperation evidenced during the last week.” 

Lightning has caused more than 120 fires this week alone and the weather is forecasted to stay the same until Thursday.

Department of Parks and Wildlife, Manager of Fire Management Services, Mike Meinema said with more dangerous fire weather on its way, people need to be vigilant and ready for more bushfires.

"120 fires over the last week were caused by dry lightning, paired with weather conditions such as strong easterly winds, high temperatures and thunderstorms which have led to difficult conditions to fight the fires.

"With more lightning and fire activity expected this week, Parks and Wildlife staff are travelling from as far afield as the Kimberley to assist with fires in the south-west.

"We are urging the public to be vigilant, to call 000 if they see any sign of fire and play their part in keeping our state safe.”

Over the weekend, fires threatened towns including Waroona and Northcliffe. One home was lost and one badly damaged. 

More than 800 firefighters from Department of Fire and Emergency Services, 600 firefighters from Department of Parks and Wildlife and more than 4,000 Bush Fire Brigade and State Emergency Service volunteers have joined forces to battle the blazes. 

They will now be bolstered by 60 Victorian firefighters, 72 incident management personnel and 5 liaison officers.  

Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said Victoria would provide emergency management personnel from Country Fire Authority (CFA), Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning (DEWLP), Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and State Emergency Service (SES) to staff incident management teams and crew trucks.  

"Victoria has a strong network of firefighters and emergency management personnel who operate in specialist roles and we are pleased to be able to share these resources and expertise with our interstate counterparts," he said.

"Australia has cross-border arrangements for sharing personnel, resources and aircraft and it is important that we continue to operate with no borders and support each other where needed.”

DFES urges everyone to ensure they have a well thought out bushfire plan ready in case a fire breaks out suddenly near you.

More information about how to get ready for bushfires can be found at areyouready.wa.gov.au