An Emergency warning has been downgraded but another one is still current for fires burning on Kangaroo Island. The CFS is moving units and personnel to focus on controlling the Duncan fire, which has the potential to threaten the town of Parndana.
An Emergency warning for that fire has been downgraded to a Watch and Act.
A second Emergency warning is current for the entire western end of Kangaroo Island – a quarter of the island – after the huge fire at Ravine jumped control lines near Cape Borda. The Ravine fire is burning in all directions through the Flinders Chase National Park. Conditions are continually changing. Flinders Chase is closed to the public. The fire at Duncan, which had previously been contained but flared up on Friday in extreme fire conditions, is now a Watch and Act warning that covers the entire mid-section of the island. This scrub fire is burning south in the direction of Parndana.
Amazing footage shows a smoke and fire “tornado” at the uncontrolled Ravine fire, which started near the Playford Hwy and West End Hwy. The Ravine fire has now destroyed more than 14,500ha and is being battled by 100 CFS and forestry personnel. More crews are inbound from the mainland to help fight the fire. Despite the size of the Ravine fire, the CFS do not believe any buildings are under threat at this time but serious concerns are held for the coming days when a cool change could see the spread of the fire towards the more populated east of the island. Volatile winds ahead of a cool change this evening are sending the fire front in multiple different directions. There are spot fires ahead of control lines to the south while a new fire front has separated from the fire ground and jumped the Playford Highway to the southwest.
Meanwhile, CFS units have been tackling a hay fire south of Mount Torrens, after strong winds caused a flare-up of the Cudlee Creek fire. The fire on Onkaparinga Valley Rd is causing large amounts of smoke to be visible over the area. There are fears a forecast wind change later on Friday will whip up other blazes across SA.
Extensive road closures are in place on the western end of Kangaroo Island. For further updates on road closures visit www.traffic.sa.gov.au On Thursday desperate measures were underway to build control lines around the scrub fire before the wind change. Strategic backburning took place in preparation for today’s worsening conditions, aiming to create control lines south of the fireground. Some 99 firefighters were on the fireground backburning and creating earth-breaks. The CFS is urging anyone on the island to seek refuge or to remain in its eastern end, at towns such as American River or Penneshaw. A relief centre is open at the Kingscote Football Club on Centenary Ave. An incident management team is also travelling to the island to co-ordinate firefighting activities.
Kangaroo Island Mayor Michael Pengilly said crews were “desperately” backburning around the fireground ahead of the cool change. “There is forecast to be a fresh northerly in the morning which will swing to west,” Mr Pengilly said. “The aim is to try and stop it spreading across Flinders Chase which could potentially take the fire through to Vivonne Bay on the south coast. “It’s Kangaroo Island, it’s summer, it’s Australia, we always get lightning here and we just have to deal with it, end of story.” Mr Pengilly said if visitors to the island wanted to stay alive they should avoid the western parts of the island where the Ravine fire is burning.
“It is peak holiday season here,” he said. “We have probably got about 10,000 people on the island including residents at the moment, that's up from our normal 4500.
“The national parks are closed down and it is essential to keep people safe. Visitors are being urged to go to the east of the island.” A CFS spokeswoman said additional resources were being sent to Kangaroo Island to try and contain the fire.
“The CFS is being supported by SES who are co-ordinating the Humanihut accommodation and helping with logistics, as well as farm fire units and Department of Environment and Water firefighting crews,” she said.
The MFS has additional resources stationed at Kingscote, and the CFS has also engaged mechanical support, to ensure maximum truck and appliance capability.” CFS state duty commander Brett Loughlin asked accommodation and AirBnB hosts to warn guests about the fire before they set off for the island ahead of the increased fire danger tomorrow. “For people travelling to, or around the Island, the CFS recommends that you have a bushfire survival plan. If you are travelling into an area that you’re not familiar with, please plan ahead,” he said. “The CFS asks that the community on Kangaroo Island stays informed. We are conscious that many people may be holidaying on the Island, and we ask that you remain alert and vigilant, given tomorrow’s conditions.”