Perth bushfires: Parts of North West Coastal Highway shut as bushfire out of control north of Geraldton
Firefighters are continuing their battle to control a blaze threatening properties north of Geraldton on Sunday night as authorities open an evacuation centre for those displaced by the fire.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued an initial emergency warning just after 2 pm on Sunday as the fire — which started about three hours earlier — surged out of control.
Parts of North West Coastal Highway have been closed to traffic with a DFES spokesperson confirming firefighters are working to protect several properties under threat on both sides of the highway.
The blaze remains unpredictable on Sunday evening as it moves in a north-westerly direction after a change in the wind, which was previously pushing it west.
The DFES emergency warning — urging people to find shelter as it is too late to leave — was further expanded on Sunday evening to include both sides of North West Coastal Highway, south of Coronation Beach Road and Nanson-Howatharra Road.
Anyone in this area is urged to shelter in a room away from the firefront where they can easily escape, preferably with a source of water.
The emergency warning instructions for people north of Coronation Beach Road and south of Yarra Road is to leave for a safer place if the way is clear, but to shelter if it is not.
These instructions apply to those in the parts of Starling Road between North West Coastal Highway and the coastline as well as people bound by North West Coastal Highway, Nanson-Howatharra Road, Bella Vista Road and Bunter Way.
As a part of their warnings, authorities issued a “watch and act” alert to people north of the emergency zone urging them to leave if the way is clear and they do not have a plan to defend their property.
The “watch and act” alert was also expanded to include anyone between North West Coastal Highway and the coastline from the Starling Road and Yarra Road intersection to the south and Hatch Road and Woolawar Road to the north. The alert extends to those east of North West Coastal Highway between Oakabella Road East and Bunter Way.
DFES have warned burning embers are likely to be blown around homes with anyone in the area urged to keep windows closed and evaporative air conditioners off.
The highway closure stretches between Northampton and Four Forty Roadhouse with motorists cautioned to avoid the area and drive carefully because of smoke.
Road closures also include Nanson-Howatharra Road, Olsen Road, Oakajee Road, Wells Road and Coronation Beach Road.
An evacuation centre has been opened at Queen Elizabeth II Community Centre on Durlacher Road in Geraldton for those displaced from their homes.
People travelling with caravans and camper trailers are being directed to a separate evacuation area at Francis Street Boatramp and Carpark, in Geraldton.
The latest information is available from Main Roads WA by visiting the Main Roads Travel Map, calling 138 138 or contacting your Local Government Authority.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails