Worried South Bunbury residents have armed themselves with garden hoses this afternoon as fire threatened homes and forced road closures.
The fire started shortly after 12.00pm near Big Swamp Reserve in grasslands adjoining housing on Spencer Street, racing across the area in minutes as dry conditions and wind fed the flames.
Bushfire advice has been issued for people living in the northern part of South Bunbury between Prince Philip Drive, Spencer Street and Francis Street, with many residents leaving work to return home.
Bunbury volunteer and career fire fighters were moving quickly to secure the area as people stopped on sidewalks around the city to gaze at a billowing plume of smoke.
Earth moving machinery is being used by city workers in efforts to protect homes contain the blaze as goannas and mice were seen fleeing the heat.
Police have closed Prince Philip Drive and residents in surrounding areas were instructed to turn off evaporative air conditioners and close all doors and windows.
Anyone with a respiratory condition was advised to contact their local doctor or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222.
More in Thursday's South Western Times