As temperatures cool on the east coast, West Australian firefighters continue to battle an unpredictable bushfire in the state’s Goldfield region which has been burning since December 16.
The fire has torn through almost 400,000 hectares of land and has forced the closure of the Eyre Highway, leaving hundreds stranded at the Caiguna Roadhouse in 47-degree heat.
More than 250 people have sheltered at the roadhouse, located 350 kilometres from the SA-WA border, with a police escort finally underway that is allowing drivers to leave.
Noongar-Yamatji woman Beverley Benfield was stranded at the Caiguna Roadhouse for seven days with a family of five before she was finally able to leave.
“We have a two-year-old with us, we had the only toddler out there, one of our priorities wasn’t food or water it was nappies,” Ms Benfield told NITV News on Monday.
“We had to go and get the police officers to put that on the list of special deliveries, they flew food out to us and that’s how we got extra nappies and wipes but we paid for that,” she said.
Ms Benfield said it wasn’t until her fourth day at the roadhouse that she was told the nappies would be free.
Her cousin, a Ngadju woman from Norseman, Maddy Edwards said despite researching for bushfires they weren’t notified about the road closures before crossing the border from Port Lincoln in South Australia.
“We were quite stressed out, they [the authority] weren’t giving us straight answers and a lot of people ended up turning around and going back and we actually considered that but it still could have been an expensive option, it was difficult,” Ms Edwards told NITV News.
The two women are currently making the 22-hour trip back to Perth.
“Madison and I have bills to pay and I was supposed to be at work last week and I lost thousands of dollars by not going back to work,” said Ms Benfield.
“We were spending between $100 and $150 a day on food between the five of us because it was so bloody expensive, I reckon that we could have spent almost $1200.”
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting that Wednesday will be a tough day for firefighters as they battle high temperatures and strong winds throughout the whole day, while the possibility of lightning could ignite new fire fronts.
A bushfire watch and act alert remains in place for people near the Eyre Highway east of Fraser Range to Balladonia in the Shire of Dundas.
For more information on WA's bushfire click here.