The Waroona Hotel's owner has spoken of the sound of explosions in the darkness as a bushfire threatens the town and nearby Preston Beach.
An emergency bushfire warning was put in place for the town late on Wednesday and then extended to Preston Beach.
The situation worsened during the night, with the blaze on Thursday morning now burning on both sides of South Western Highway. Authorities have warned that lives and homes are under threat.
"The bushfire is moving fast in a westerly direction. It is out of control and unpredictable. Burning embers are likely to be blown around your home. Spot fires are starting ahead of the fire," the Department of Fire and Emergency Services warned.
For the latest warning conditions, visit the DFES website or follow the Twitter account
"Some time between 11pm and midnight there were some buildings impacted directly by fire," Waroona Hotel owner Dave Burt said.
"There were people in town not staying quite up to date through the different media and [other] people had to go and get them out. Their places looked damaged by fire.
"We know there are businesses on the outskirts of town that have been impacted by fire. We're not sure to what extent.
"There were explosions late last night which we assume were gas bottles. You know people's properties are being directly affected when you hear gas bottles going off - it's either buildings or machinery.
"You do get concerned and you hope people got out and made the right decisions."
People who live east of the South Western Highway have been told it is too late to leave and leaving now may be deadly. Other residents of Waroona shire have been advised they are in danger and need to act immediately to survive.
Residents in other areas of the shire are subject to a Watch and Act alert. There are 1600 homes without power.
About 100 firefighters using more than 40 appliances, including fire trucks, dozers and loaders are on the ground, supported by water bombers.
An evacuation centre has been established at Murray Leisure Centre in Pinjarra and another is being set up at Harvey Town Hall.
The fire was reported on Wednesday morning after lightning started the fire in Lane Poole Reserve near Dwellingup.