Two bodies found in 5th dramatic day of WA fires
THE bodies of two men have been found, while a third person missing during the massive Waroona fire has been found alive, in the fifth day the fires had been burning.
Fire-fighters worked through the weekend to try to control the still-uncontained fire, which has destroyed 128 homes and covered more than 70,000 hectares south of Perth.
While emergency services warnings for the fire threatening Harvey and Cookernup was downgraded to a "watch-and-act" alert, the situation was still rated an emergency at Waroona, Yarloop and Hamel yesterday.
While three people were reported missing during the fires last week, emergency services on Saturday found the bodies of two unnamed elderly men in homes in Yarloop destroyed by the fire.
Yesterday, good news came in the form of authorities finding the third missing person, but authorities did not report the person's identity.
The families of both men who died during the blaze have been contacted, and police said reports would be prepared for the Western Australian coroner.
Relatives of a 73-year-old man Malcolm Taylor had told News Corp papers they feared for his life, but authorities have not confirmed whether he was one of those found dead.
Fire-fighters were helped with some humidity and slower winds over the weekend, despite still battling a fire front more than 200km long across the state's south-west.
More than 800 people had registered at evacuation centres across the region, but authorities could not say when it would be safe for them to return home.
WA Premier Colin Barnett cut his holiday short to return to work, visiting people at the Pinjarra evacuation centre on the weekend.
He told reporters at the centre that the damage was significant but praised the efforts of emergency services and the wider community.
The federal government on Saturday activated disaster assistance funding for personal hardship and home repairs for people affected in the Waroona and Hervey council areas, as well as funds for councils to rebuild infrastructure.
The funding will also go towards interest rate subsidies for small businesses and primary producers and freight subsidies to help transport feed and water to farms affected by the fire in the state's dairy region.