Augusta hero sets out to save Windy Harbour residents

It takes more than three hours to drive from Augusta to Windy Harbour, according to Google Maps. Steve Hughes has sailed the distance in his cray boat to rescue residents trapped by the bushfire.

It takes more than three hours to drive from Augusta to Windy Harbour, according to Google Maps. Steve Hughes has sailed the distance in his cray boat to rescue residents trapped by the bushfire.

AN Augusta man has set out across the sea to rescue people trapped by the bushfire near Windy Harbour.  

Steve Hughes decided to take his own cray boat and cross more than 100 kilometres of ocean on Wednesday afternoon when he heard people needed to evacuate the small village.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services said residents of Windy Harbour were under imminent threat due to the out-of-control bushfire located south of the Northcliffe townsite and west of Windy Harbour Road.  

Augusta Sea Search & Rescue member Jarrah Smith said Windy Harbour residents had evacuated their homes and were waiting on a beach.

They had little opportunity to drive to safety, as the fire threatened major routes and thick smoke filled the area.

Mr Smith said his friend Mr Hughes was also a member of the Sea Rescue group, but had volunteered to take on the mission himself as he had the time and resources.

“This guy’s doing it all off his own back,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s going to cost thousands of dollars in diesel.”

He said the Rescue Group’s boat was not big enough to bring back the estimated 50 people, which is why Mr Hughes chose to take his own.

Mr Hughes set out with his daughter and was nearing Windy Harbour in the late afternoon.

He reported there was thick smoke in the area. 

The rescue mission was expected to return to Augusta on Wednesday night.

The bushfire started in the shire of Manjimup on Friday, January 30, and has burnt more than 58,000 hectares.

For more information on the fire, visit the DFES website.

The bushfire was mainly burning near the white marker overnight on Tuesday.

The bushfire was mainly burning near the white marker overnight on Tuesday.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop