UPDATED: Gripping footage has shown just how crucial water-bombing helicopters were to saving homes threatened in this week's southern suburbs fire.

Recorded in part from the roof of a house in Tranquil Gardens, Atwell, the video gives a terrifying insight into a bushfire.

Homeowners can be seen watching on in despair as 10m-high flames engulf bushland just a stone’s throw away.

Residents try to fight the fire with garden hoses, but their efforts appear hopeless against the ferocity and scale of the blaze.

Then helicopters arrive – airborne saviours that fly directly into the smoke to drop hundreds of litres of water at a time.

The lifesaving capabilities are obvious as they drop the water with speed and precision, cutting off the flames.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services used seven helicopters and six fixed-wing bombers to fight the fire.

They were directed by three air-attack supervision helicopters and one air-intelligence helicopter.

The aircraft spent a combined 102 hours in the air and ensured no homes were destroyed.

Pockets of the fire remain today and more than 50 firefighters are still at the scene, extinguishing hot spots and preventing flare-ups.

Road speeds are restricted to 40km/h and commuters are urged to avoid the area, if possible.

The blaze, which is now under control, started between Taylor and Nicholson roads late Monday night.

It has been deemed suspicious.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The West Australian

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