Posted by: Gregoryno6 | February 6, 2011

Floods in the east and fire in the west.

LINK: Photos of the fires in the Perth hills taken by Paul Pichugin here.

While most of the population in the eastern states is preparing to either buy houseboats or grow gills, Perth is facing a more traditional summer threat.

After a couple of days of brisk easterly winds fires broke out today in national parks to the northeast and southeast of the city. Winds have been so stiff that the water bombing planes have been grounded.

The latest news report is advising people living near the fire in the south to stay where they are, it’s too late now to move.

35 houses have been lost so far, and a road bridge has collapsed. I could be wrong, but I think these fires were deliberately started.

ABC News Radio and ABC 720 in Perth are providing live coverage. Click on the Listen Now link.


FESA representative is attributing the fires to airborne debris impacting power lines. Certainly not implausible, winds have been gusting up to 75km/hr (about 50 mph). Maybe firebugs are not to blame this time.


  1. Hi,
    Yes I heard about this on the news, not good at all, I certainly hope everyone got out OK.

    The fires in Canberra and the fires in Victoria was mainly caused because the greens would not allow back burning, is this the case in Perth?
    Honestly the greens have a lot to answer for, there has never been so many fires, until they started dictating there stupid ideas, which always end up hurting someone.

    • The emergency report says that a total of five or six fires have broken out. So far no loss of life.
      I wouldn’t be surprised mags if the don’t-touch policies of the environmentals are partly to blame. I know that in the past they have argued very strongly against burning of large areas to reduce fuel loads here too. Their strategy at one point was to lose themselves in areas where burns were scheduled.

      • Western Australia is still pretty proactive about fuel-reduction burns, especially compared to over East. People make a lot of noise when the wind unexpectedly shifts and we end up with a city & suburbs full on smoke in the middle of winter, and threats and promises are made to placate various groups, but from what I hear we are still quite “progressive” in the proper sense, not the Leftard backwards-day sense. about controlled burns.

        As for what started them? A friend in the bush fire brigade says that when bushfires break out on weekends or school holidays, in the absence of lightning strikes he’d be willing to put money on them being arson.

        • Thanks for the info spot. Another difference between here and there is that we’re not likely to have Colin Barnett glued to our eyes and ears in the wake of today’s events.

          • Thank heavens for small mercies. Sometimes I feel like we’re the only state with Responsible Adults, not wannabe weather-girls or other assorted adolescent media whores, in charge.

            ps, I have a comment stuck in moderation 😦

            • Yep, fixed that. Not sure why it got held up.

            • Too many links, I’d guess. Probably assumed I was selling viagra 😀

  2. A friend & fellow Perthling on Twitter got some really good photos of the Perth Hills fires – they ended up being published in at PerthNow. The West/ used several as well.

    His name’s Paul Pichugin, and here are more photos on his website.

    As an interesting point, he makes clear on Twitter that “For the record, I haven’t charged any of the media companies a single cent to get access to my photos of the fire, just a credit. I don’t believe in profiteering on the misery of others, goes against every principle I have.”

    He’s also got an ongoing battle with Channel9, as they’ve used some of his photos off Twitter and off his website before without even the basic courtesy of crediting him. Boo, Channel9! 😛

    Anyway, they’re pretty good pics – go have a look. I’ll give him a plug on Tizona as well, when I get a chance.

    So glad that only property was damaged, no lives lost.


    • I’ll add the link to the main post.
      And next time I see that ad at the movies about Australians stealing intellectual property by pirating movies and TV shows, I’ll think of Channel 9.

      • @NineNewsPerth is so cross at him for pointing out on Twitter what they had done, that they actually blocked him. They apparently would like him to just “get over it”. Pfft.

        He says that ABC has now contacted him about his fire photos as well – good to see an honest soul do well, once in a while.

  3. And, another thought…

  4. Ooh, that’s really frightening. Hits pretty close to home for me, being in So Cal and having seen one of these crazy fires basically right across the street from me late one night. I had no idea what I would do or where I’d go if we were evacuated, not to mention getting my mother and two dogs to safety, as well.

    Are you okay?

    • Thanks Mickel, I survived intact. The damage is still being assessed, but at this stage about 60 houses have been lost. It’s incredible really that nobody died AFAIK because those winds were really howling along Sat into Sunday.
      As for your situation, your local council probably has some advice to offer on evacuation plans. One suggestion – if you have any Australian eucalypts around your residence, do what you can to get them pruned or taken away altogether. An Aussie gumtree is basically a bomb waiting for the right temperature to set it off – as they did some years ago in California.

  5. I was reading yesterdee that the backburning process had been put on the backburner….and that they hadn’t gotten much done at all over the past few years… it from “the west”


    • “Basically they are city dwellers who don’t know about fires.”
      Well, school’s in, so to speak.
      I thought Dept of Conservation and Land Management were more intelligent in their burning off practices. The forecast is for another windy weekend like the last; the winds are certainly brisk this morning, and coming from the east.
      We shall see.
      Thanks for the link.

      • The DEC is pretty proactive as far as fuel-reduction burns go. The problem here is that the local council over-ruled them, and there’s not much they can do about that currently.

        “Yesterday, the Department of Environment and Conservation said it was powerless to impose its eight per cent burning targets on parks controlled by councils or private landholders, whose awareness of fire risks was ‘highly variable’.”

        Blame Armadale local council.

        • I’m a tree-hugging hippie at heart and I believe it’s wrong to manage forests by burning off. No, I will let everything grow wild right up to my house. And when I’m left with nothing but the clothes I’m wearing and a shoebox full of ashes, BOY will you hear me scream about the government not doing its job!
          If they start an appeal for the victims of last weekend’s fire, I have to say I would be reluctant to donate. A lot of people went very sour on forest-dwelling urbanites after fires around Melbourne in the 80s. They rebuilt in exactly the same style and with the same total disregard for the hazards. Call me excessively cynical, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the same here.

  7. @Gregoryno9:

    They already have started an appeal, in addition to all the money our State government is throwing at the “victims”.

    While I feel sorry for those who have lost everything, I don’t understand why it’s up to me, via taxes, to pay for the consequences of their decisions. Remove the concept of moral hazard and you end up with a bunch of overgrown adolescents who trumpet their “rights” to do this, that or the other and when it all ends in tears, want Nanny Gubbamint to “fix it”.

    I’ll add that I took in a mate’s sister and her family, since I have the room and she’s a really nice gal, so I have no trouble with the idea of private charity. They were renting in Kelmscott and their home was damaged – they now realise that that’s not where they want to be after all and are going to rent elsewhere, somewhere safer.

    Paul Murray (about the only thing The West still has going for it) had a good editorial this week: Who pays for lifestyle of risk among gum trees?

    “Putting your hand in your own pocket is a personal choice. It’s quite another thing when the State does it for you.

    “This week I’ve listened as stoic souls, one after another, have told how they intend to rebuild their homes destroyed by Sunday’s inferno.

    “Why, I asked. To suffer the same fate in a decade or so? We just love living here, they said.

    “But if that supposed inevitability happens, will taxpayers be forced to subsidise their lifestyle all over again?”

    Well worth a read.

    • Thanks, that’s worth a new post I think. Points to you spot for taking those people under your roof. Points to them too for rethinking their future.

      • My parents were always taking in strays – must’ve got it from them 😉

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