A bushfire spreading on the outskirts of Perth, Western Australia has now destroyed 71 homes and more property damage is anticipated as the fire continues to expand and threaten communities in the area.
The Wooroloo bushfire started on February 1st 2021 and was battled by more than 500 fire fighters.
Despite these attempts, the bushfire continued to spread and by mid-morning of February 2nd it had reached 7,000 hectares in size, with a 60km perimeter.
By the middle of February 3rd, 71 houses were reported to have been completely destroyed by the bushfire and areas of Peth’s suburbs are on high-alert as the bushfire continues to spread.
It’s the largest bushfire seen close to Perth for a number of years, having now burned through 9,000 hectares of land and now the Wooroloo bushfire has a 100km perimeter.
Fire fighting conditions are said to be challenging, with hot and dry temperatures and strong winds expected to persist, raising the likelihood of further spread of the bushfire.
Evacuation warnings have now been issued for areas to the north and north-east of Perth, including the suburbs of Shady Hills, Bullsbrook, The Vines and Aveley.
After a particularly impactful and costly wildfire season in 2020, which drove some reasonably significant losses to some reinsurance capital providers, the summer 2020/21 season was expected to be different due to La Nina conditions emerging.
As a result, Western Australia had always been the focus, given how dry it has been across that area of Australia over recent months.
This is the first significant bushfire there and is seen as one with the potential to drive some insurance market losses to the major Australian carriers, which as ever could have ramifications for their reinsurance providers, with their aggregate reinsurance layers perhaps set to see some erosion if the bushfire spreads through more populated areas.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) estimated that insured bushfire losses during the accepted seasonal months reached almost AU $2.34 billion last year, with more than 38,600 claims filed with insurers due to fire impacts from the season.
This new season has a long way to run to get close to those figures, but as peak of summer begins the expectation is that this Perth bushfire won’t be the only one to threaten insurance and perhaps reinsurance interests this season.