Unexploded bombs at military site hinder Australian firefighters tackling enormous ‘life-threatening’ blaze
Firefighters in Western Australia are being prevented from reaching at-risk homes due to unexploded bombs buried in the ground, as they tackle a huge blaze that has ripped through more than 9,000 hectares of land since Saturday.
The fire is located near the town of Lancelin, some 160km north of Perth, and is advancing at a pace of about 3.5km an hour towards the mainland settlement of Wedge Island, where a bombing range contains explosives buried underground.
The Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) told local residents on Tuesday to “act immediately to survive” and ordered them to evacuate the area amid the “threat to lives and homes.”
A community meeting with DFES officials determined it would be too dangerous for fire crews to enter the old Lancelin bombing range surrounding the Wedge Island mainland settlement due to the unexploded ordinances.
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The coastal dune area has been used in the past by the SAS for counter-terrorism practice, and for navy diver explosives-clearance training.
More than 200 firefighters are tackling the fire, which broke out in the Red Gully area of the shire of Gingin on Saturday and has spread rapidly, helped by winds of 20 to 30km/h.
So-called ‘spot fires’ are also being ignited by embers blown hundreds of meters away from the main blaze, with dry conditions set to continue amid highs of 40 degrees Celsius this week.
A DEFS statement on Tuesday warned people in the affected areas not to delay evacuating, as “leaving at the last minute is deadly,” adding that people who find themselves unable to leave should brace for sheltering inside.
No homes are reported to have been destroyed, according to local media. The DFES said the fire had been started accidentally.
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Source:RT World News