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Fire bug leaves community on high alert.
Shahana and Melissa Shadbolt at their Gidgegannup property in January

Hills communities on high alert as fire bug rampages

By Rebecca Peppiatt 

A SERIES of suspicious fires has seen the communities of Wooroloo and Gidgegannup on high alert throughout the Christmas and New Year period, almost a year after a devastating bushfire tore through their towns, destroying 86 homes.

Boxing Day saw a number of people in the Wooroloo and Chidlow communities evacuating their homes as a bushfire bore down on them travelling west.

The fire started near the intersection of Old Northam Road and Government Road in Beechina and there are unconfirmed reports that a property was lost on Jason Road.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within 48 hours.

Police said they were  investigating several other suspicious fires lit in the Wooroloo area since Christmas, but locals claim there have been as many as 13.

Gidgegannup mother and daughter Melissa and Shahana Shadbolt caught sight of an arsonist earlier this week setting light to $5000 worth of animal feed and medication at their Old Toodyay Road property.

It was the second night in a row they had caught someone setting fires around their home.

“I heard a noise in the shed,” Shahana said.

“I went out with a torch and saw a male dressed in black running off through the paddock.

“I told him to get off because he’s trespassing and then I turned around and saw a tiny little orange flicker over there but we managed to put it out.”

The pair are already on high alert after a recent break-in and coming within a kilometre of last year’s bushfire disaster that took a nearby neighbour’s home.

“Last night [Monday] I went outside because the dogs were going crazy again and I looked at the shed and it was up in flames.”

The shed contained expensive medication and bags of feed and hay for the family’s pet horses and goats.

It took firies over an hour to get the blaze under control.

Police said they were investigating the cause of the fire.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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