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Vacant home, sheds lost in Augusta bushfire after firefighters left battling multiple WA blazes

By Graeme Powell and Emily Piesse, Wednesday January 31, 2018 - 08:48 EDT
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A burnt out car sits among blackened trees after Monday's bushfire in Augusta. - ABC

A bushfire in the WA town of Augusta has damaged one property and destroyed an uninhabited home, sheds, and cars, as well as melting roadside signs and damaging power poles.

More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze through Monday night, one of a number of fires fought by the state's emergency services in a 24 hour period.

They have also been also grappling with serious flooding in the north of the state.

The fire in Augusta, a small coastal tourist town about 300 kilometres south of Perth, has now been contained and controlled, with the alert level downgraded to an "advice".

It burnt at least 147 hectares.

Roads closed in the area have now been reopened but a reduced speed limit of 60km per hour applies.

The local shire has asked the public to avoid the area.

Augusta Shire President Pam Townshend said owners of the damaged property were upset, but thankful their main house was saved, and their family was safe.

"Fire and emergency services assessors who came through today and had a look at where the fire had been were so complimentary about how much property had been saved," she said.

"This is good for morale because you can imagine walking back through a fire scene and seeing places that they hadn't been able to save."

Kings Park, Gidgegannup fires

Another fire at Gidgegannup, 40 kilometres north-east of Perth, started at 11:00pm on Monday and had been threatening lives and homes.

But authorities have also downgraded the alert there to a bushfire advice, saying the fire was contained and under control.

The blaze burnt through around 60 hectares of bush, with 50 firefighters still patrolling the area and mopping up.

, closing the park to all motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

The blaze burned through bush along Thomas Street on the western side of Kings Park, opposite Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

An all clear has been given by authorities for the area, but motorists are advised to exercise caution.

The arson squad have called for anyone who saw anything suspicious in bushland near a gravel track located between May Drive and the tennis club around when the fire is thought to have started, to come forward.

WA Police said a reward of up to $50,000 was available for any information that led to the conviction of an arsonist.

Broome sets January rainfall record

Meanwhile, a tropical low pressure system dumped more than 400mm of rain on the Kimberley town of Broome in the 24 hours from 9:00am on Monday and produced wind gusts of up to 106kph at Broome Airport.

The town has now had a record 914.8mm of rain so far this month — beating the previous January record of 910.8 mm set in 1997.

The deluge caused widespread flooding in the Kimberley, with residents assessing the damage.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Matt Boterhoven said the record daily rainfall for Broome was 476mm.

"We've got a warning out for the Kimberley, also for the north interior and adjacent East Pilbara there and [they] could see some damaging gusts of up to 100kph", Mr Boterhoven said.

"It will slowly move into the north interior today and during Wednesday should weaken a bit more … heavy rainfall will track down into eastern Goldfields and Eucla."


© ABC 2018

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