Smoke from the Red Hill bushfire. Picture: Andrew Williams

DFES says escaped camp fire likely caused Red Hill bushfire

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services determined the cause of the fire by Thursday afternoon, March 21.
March 28, 2024
Anita McInnes

THE Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) says the recent Red Hill bushfire is accidental and likely caused by an escaped campfire.

DFES fire investigators had not concluded their investigation into the Red Hill bushfire when Echo News went to press on Thursday morning, March 21.

But at 2.08pm that afternoon DFES said the cause of the fire had been determined as accidental.

“A thorough investigation within the area of origin found that the most likely cause was an escaped camp fire,’’ a spokesperson said.

As a total fire ban was in place on March 19 in the Perth metropolitan area including the City of Swan – the day the fire was reported – Echo News asked WA Police if the arson squad came to the same conclusion as the DFES fire investigators that the bushfire was accidental and most likely caused by an escaped camp fire or was their investigation still ongoing.

A WA Police spokeswoman said the arson squad would only investigate if DFES determined the cause of the fire to be suspicious.

“This investigation was not handed over to police and it is not a police matter,’’ she said.

By 4pm Wednesday, March 20, DFES said more than 200 firefighters had worked along with aircraft over 24 hours fighting the bushfire, which at its peak was moving at up to 2km per hour with wind gusts of around 50-60km/h.

During that time aircraft made 163 drops equating to more than 398,000 litres of water or retardant.
Perth Airport said due to the location of the bushfire, some flights to and from Perth had experienced minor delays on Wednesday.

DFES downgraded the bushfire, which burnt about 690ha, to an all clear about 4pm on March 25.

The Wandoo Heights cottage on the bushland, gifted to the City of Swan in 1988, was lost during the blaze and three sheds were destroyed but no homes were lost.

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