ON THE SPOT: What the firefighters saw in the WA bushfires.
ON THE SPOT: What the firefighters saw in the WA bushfires. WA DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE

WA fire crews under pressure in wake of fatal blaze

WESTERN Australia's Fire Commissioner has defended emergency services' efforts to put out the massive Waroona fire, amid local complaints about how the disaster was handled.

The fire blazed ferociously for five days, razing 128 homes and killing two elderly men, and fire crews were still battling spot fires and embers on Monday.

At a community meeting in Pinjarra on Monday, locals from Yarloop - the worst-hit town in the region - complained about a lack of water, communication with authorities and emergency warnings.

But WA Fire Commissioner Wayne Gregson told reporters the blaze caught firefighters by surprise, saying the fire and weather behaviour had never been seen before.

He said it was like a "fire storm", likening emergency services' efforts to "putting out a bonfire with a glass of water". Authorities hope cooler weather this week will allow fire crews to bring the blaze under control.


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