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Homes are threatened and roads are closed after a fire started close to Great Eastern Highway in Northam this evening.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued a watch and act alert for people in an area bounded by the highway, Mitchell Avenue and Verlinden Road.

People in the area are being urged to leave or prepare to defend their homes.

The fire is one of several scrub fires in the area, including one across the highway from the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre.

Fire crews are battling scrub fires along the highway, on the corner of Mitchell Avenue and Mt Ommanney Road.

The Great Eastern Highway has been closed between Clackline and Northam-Toodyay Road. Motorists are being urged to avoid the area.

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It is not known what started the fire which was reported just after 5pm.