Thirty-five volunteer firefighters spent almost 24 hours fighting the fire which threatened the Cape Torrens Wilderness Area on Good Friday, April 6.
The fire was ignited from a private burn carried out under permit on a farm the previous week and was fanned by high winds which carried an ember to nearby native vegetation.
The alarm was raised about 1pm on the Friday. The volunteers, with resources from CFS, DENR, Forestry and private contractors worked throughout the night to contain and slow the spread of the 140ha fire.
KI Deputy Group Officer Ivan Smith said the volunteers worked in “absolutely appalling terrain, through acacia and along high cliffs laying hundreds of metres of hoses to slow the fire’s progress around the cliff face”.
With the aid of two fixed wing fire bombers early on Saturday morning the fire was brought under control.
“When those fire fighters returned to the CFS Group Control centre at Parndana the next morning they were absolutely exhausted from their incredible efforts but proud of what they had achieved. Through their hard work, they had stopped the fire from getting into the Cape Torrens Wilderness Area, an inaccessible landscape that would make fire control extremely difficult.
“There would be little doubt that there was going to be a probable impact on the De Mole estates and its residents. At a time of the year when most people think all is well, we were facing an event with serious potential,” Mr Smith said.
“Getting CFS crews or replacement crews for this fire and many other incident types is becoming extremely difficult within our community.
“Add the complicating factors of Easter or people away through holiday periods just highlights the difficulties we face. All our local emergency service organisations are extremely undermanned and subsequently we burn out the few dedicated people we have.
“We need more people to step up and become involved.
“The average firefighter is 50 years old and a similar situation faces the other agencies.”
The official fire danger season on Kangaroo Island ends on April 30.