Fire victims in Australia vow they will rebuild

January 10, 2016 9:00 am

 Only devastation remains after a wildfire spread through the town of Yarloop. Photo / Twitter

Three people are missing after blaze sparked by lightning wipes out town.
The historic West Australian town of Yarloop, south of Perth, will be rebuilt after a bushfire wiped out at least 121 homes.
Colin
Barnett met residents at the Pinjarra evacuation centre yesterday and
said the state government would help rebuild public facilities at
Yarloop, but was unsure how many of the 545 people would return.
“I’m sure there will be a Yarloop, but probably not a Yarloop of its previous size,” he said.
Department
of Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Wayne Gregson said it had
been a challenging bushfire and they were “not out of the woods yet”.
“I don’t like to get optimistic in these circumstances, we’ll just see what time brings,” he said.

“We’re seeing conditions that we’ve not seen before on this type of fire, particularly when it went through Yarloop.”
The
premier also announced disaster assistance for victims under the
jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery
Arrangements.
Barnett said he was in awe of emergency services and admired the spirit of residents.
There will be a review into the bushfire, which has burned more than 70,000ha, he said.
Federal
MP Andrew Hastie also visited the evacuation centre and said the Prime
Minister wanted to convey his sympathy to the victims and admiration for
those helping.
Three people are still missing, but authorities hope to find them alive.
Four firefighters have also been injured since lightning sparked the fire started on Wednesday.
More than 60 New South Wales firefighters arrived on Saturday and will help fatigued crews.
In
addition to the lost homes, several other structures were razed in
Yarloop, including part of the school and the 110-year-old Yarloop
Workshops and Steam Museum.
Almost 100 people were evacuated from
Yarloop by air and road after the devastation, but 16 refused to budge,
including Ron Sackville, who told AAP on Friday that he heard gas
bottles and petrol drums explode as properties around him burned.
“Once it hit the town there was no stopping it because the houses were just exploding,” he said.
An
emergency warning is in place for areas east of Waroona, Hamel,
Cookernup, Yarloop, Harvey and surrounding areas, but not for Waroona.
A
“watch and act” alert remains for an area bounded by Preston Beach,
Lake Clifton and north of Waroona, and an area bounded by Waroona in a
line west to the coast, as well as Myalup.
Several roads and recreation sites remain closed, and dairy farmers have been forced to dump thousands of litres of milk.
Western
Power says thousands of properties remain without power but burned
trees and debris in danger of collapsing must be cleared before crews
can rebuild the network.
About 835 people have registered at two
evacuation centres. Material donations are not being officially
accepted, but essentials and small gifts have been given to those in
need, and animals have been provided with shelter.
People can
make monetary donations through the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund
and the state government has already committed A$1 million.

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