Three backpackers – a woman from Germany, a woman from Norway and a man from Britain – died in a vehicle during catastrophic bushfires on Western Australia’s south coast.

A fourth person – Kym “Freddy” Curnow, a Father of three and popular local farmer – died in a second car while driving around warning neighbours of the flames tearing across the farmland.

It is understood that the backpackers had been employed for the bumper harvest that was underway in the Esperance area. Local reports suggest the travellers were attempting to save the life of a horse by towing a float behind their car before the fierce blaze engulfed their vehicle.

Authorities believe the fires were sparked by lightning strikes at the weekend, with at least three houses and a school said to have been destroyed.

An emergency warning was reinstated early yesterday afternoon with the threat level reduced to ‘watch and act’ after the fire was contained by more than 200 firefighters