Western Australia police have confirmed that four people have died last night in the North Cascade bushfires, which is one of four bushfires that have blazed across WA’s south since Monday.

Just 60km north of Esperance, the North Cascade fire was sparked by lightning strikes, and has ravaged over 300,000 hectares of land. It continues to burn and flames up to two metres high are expected to move slowly in a north easterly direction on Wednesday.

According to authorities, the deceased were found in the fire area of Grass Patch, Salmon Gums and surrounding areas in the Shire of Esperance. Residents from these locations have been advised to leave as the fires pose an immediate threat to their homes and lives, and many have been relocated to Norseman or Esperance.

The fire that started north of Cascade is now burning on both sides of the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, between Scaddan and Salmon Gums.

There are reports of more fatalities in blazes at Grass Patch and Salmon Gums, and Stockyard Creek, although police say at present this cannot be confirmed.

Primary schools at Scaddan, Grass Patch and Salmon Gums will be closed on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Stockyard Creek and Mullet Lakes areas in Merivale, where fires are now burning near Tyrell Road, has also been issued an emergency warning by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES). Firefighters note the blaze has been contained but not controlled, and say westerly winds may push it east.

A Watch and Act warning has also been issued for the Thomas River-Poison Creek area in the Cape Arid National Park, Shire of Esperance, where the fire is moving eastward and not contained. Residents who are not prepared or who plan to evacuate are advised to do so immediately.

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