Supply chains into Western Australia have been brought to a standstill by bushfires as major supermarkets in Perth wait on food and other household essentials as stranded trucks await the Eyre Highway shutdown.
Fires have decimated more than 500,000 hectares on both sides of the Eyre Highway in the state's southeast leaving supplies critically short into towns as residents have been forced to ration food.
Roadhouses along the main route for freight companies are still awaiting much needed stock.
Currently hundreds of trucks bound for Perth are delayed in South Australia with supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles awaiting fresh produce. Coles has already begun diverting road shipments to rail.
“Our team members have been working hard to keep our stores open and stocked for customers where possible, and we thank police and fire services for helping us to get essential supplies delivered to stores in fire-affected areas," Coles said in a statement.
Tourists trapped for several days between the towns of Norseman and Caiguna were finally escorted by police on a convoy following a reprieve in the weather when cooler conditions arrived earlier this week.
Despite hopes the route would be reopened today the blaze has spread with both sides of the highway now affected.
“Once the fire has been contained the situation for opening the Eyre Highway will be re-assessed,” the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.
Up to 50 roadtrains were in transit when bushfires forced closure of the highway according to the Western Roads Federation.
The fire started on 20 December leaving residents with restricted access to travel between Coolgardie and Esperence.
In NSW, Woolworths announced that it would have orders of fresh milk, eggs, bread, meat, fruit and vegetables coming into its South Coast stores as the supermarket chain continued in its efforts to replenish stock.
“We will continue to work closely with our partner The Salvation Army to support their needs for essential items in local evacuation centres, as well as providing support to local rural fire crews as needed," the company said in a statement.
“We thank customers for their patience and understanding during this time and thank our team members for their ongoing support to their local communities."