The Arson Squad is investigating a bushfire that burned out of control and dangerously close to properties in Nambeelup, east of Mandurah on Wednesday.
Crews were called to what police believe was a deliberately lit car fire on Yangedi Road near Lakes Road about 8:05pm.
The fire quickly spread to nearby dry bushland as winds of more than 16 knots blew the blaze in a northwesterly direction towards Stake Hill.
Loud explosions could be heard, believed to be the tyres blasting on a resident’s truck.
Conditions proved challenging for crews with spot fires starting up to 100 metres ahead of the blaze.
A bushfire emergency warning remained in place for most of the night with residents told their lives were in danger and that they needed to act immediately to survive.
More than 130 career and volunteer firefighters from across the region worked through the night to get the blaze under control.
Police closed Lakes Road in both directions between Patterson Road and Yangedi Road as residents in the surrounding area were forced to evacuate.
The Shire of Murray opened up a temporary evacuation point at Murray Aquatic and Leisure Centre on Camp Road in Pinjarra.
Still, most slept in their cars along with pets and little belongings just outside the fire ground as they waited anxiously for updates.
A control point was initially set up on Lakes Road but was later moved to the Murrayfield Aerodrome amid size, accessability and safety concerns.
The Salvation Army and the State Emergency Service have provided support for firefighters on the frontline by supplying their services including equipment and food.
Firefighters with the assistance of arial support spent most of Thursday working to fully extinguish the blaze which has burnt through more than 70 hectares.
The fire remains active and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) have issued a bushfire advice for the people of Nambeelup and Stake Hill.
DFES says residents need to keep up to date as the situation can change at anytime.
Arson officers from Strike Force Vulcan are urging anyone with information on the blaze to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.
Rewards of up to $50,000 are available for information that leads to the identification and conviction of an arsonist.