South Pacific

Bushfire claims lives, Adventist Church campground in Western Australia

Several structures of the Church's Camp Logue Brook were destroyed in the fire.

Waroona, Western Australia | Linden Chuang, Record Magazine / ANN Staff

A bushfire in Western Australia’s southwestern region killed two people and destroyed more than 140 buildings, including several structures at a Seventh-day Adventist Church campground.

All but one cabin at the Western Australian Conference’s Camp Logue Brook (CLB) were lost in the Waroona bushfire that began January 6 and has burned more than 73,500 hectares (181,622 acres). The property is also currently losing water due to a melted pipe.

The conference’s general secretary, Sid Griffith, flew an aircraft over the campsite January 8 and confirmed the severity of the damage.

The home of camp managers Ken and Lesley Topperwien remained undamaged by the fire, as well as CLB’s maintenance shed.

“A sad day for sure, but they are buildings,” wrote Western Australian Conference president, Terry Johnson, on Facebook. “All the memories [will] remain. The buildings can be rebuilt.” 

Pastor Johnson expressed his condolences to the families of two men, aged 73 and 77, killed in the blaze, which ripped through the town of Yarloop.

The historic town, with a population of 600 people, has been described as a “war zone,” with 128 homes destroyed in the fire.

Two Adventist families were among those who lost homes in the blaze.

Thousands of people in the South Perth region are still without power, while several major roads remain closed. 

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has set up an emergency response team at the Leschenault Leisure Centre in Australind, and is working with other aid organizations to help find accommodations for those displaced by the fires.