Goomalling man dead after storms spark multiple fires in Western Australia's Wheatbelt

| 23.11,22. 11:05 PM |

Goomalling man dead after storms spark multiple fires in Western Australia's Wheatbelt

An lightning bolt strikes a cloud of smoke from a fire burning on a wheat field at low light.
Electrical storms create a significant fire hazard at this time of year.(File photo. Supplied: Bec Wallis)

A man in his 50s has died from severe burns after storms ignited multiple bushfires in Western Australia's Wheatbelt.  

The 57-year-old was using a harvester in a paddock when the fire occurred at a Walyormouring property yesterday at about 2pm.

He received serious burns to his body as a result of the fire and was conveyed to Goomalling Hospital as a priority one case by St John WA.  

He was later airlifted by rescue helicopter to Fiona Stanley Hospital, with WA Police confirming the man subsequently died.

WA Police Arson Squad detectives will prepare a report for the coroner.

About 190 hectares of land within the Goomalling shire was burnt.

Numerous fires in wheatbelt

Lightning sparked numerous fires across the wheatbelt yesterday, threatening lives and homes and burning crops and fences.

In a separate fire at Calingiri, a farmer's harvester,  two tractors and field bins were destroyed by fire after lightning hit a fence post, travelled along fence wire and ignited a paddock in several places.

Burned tractor and field bin
Fire caused by a lightning strike to a fence post caused multiple fires to ignite simultaneously, destroying farm machinery at this Calingiri farm.(Supplied: Ozzy Edmonds)

Victoria Plains Shire chief bushfire control officer Gavin Halligan said local brigades had to respond to five bushfires burning at different locations within the shire.

He said the Edmonds family had lost machinery when they left their property at Calingiri to help fight a fire at a neighbours place.

Lightning struck a fence post near the paddock where he had parked his harvesting equipment, and a family member had parked his truck.

"It struck the fence post and run up the fence and ignited the side of the road verge, which has then ignited the paddock of crop. It burnt about 60 hectares, about 25 hectares of that was unharvested," Mr Halligan said.

"It went up very quickly, a there was a lot of smoke it was a very hot fire."

Burned header
Fired caused by a lightning strike to a fence post has destroyed farm machinery including this header.(Supplied: Ozzy Edmonds)

He said the rapid response to all of the fires was testament to the efforts of volunteers from across the region.

Communications coordinating the fire-fighting efforts also proved challenging.  

lightning damaged fence post
A lightning strike to a fence post has provided the ignition point for several fires in Calingiri.(Supplied: Ozzy Edmonds)

"At the last fire we had no phone service at all, so we were relaying by radio to the fire truck that was parked on a hill with phone service to relay messages to Geraldton, they were letting them know what was happening," he said.

"That's quite common down here."

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