At 11.05 am on Thursday, February 8 the CFS were alerted to a bush fire emergency at Middle River, Kangaroo Island

Blackened panorama: The extent of the fire can be seen in this dramatic photo of the burnt area around Snelling's Beach and Middle River. Photo: Sharon Geake.
Blackened panorama: The extent of the fire can be seen in this dramatic photo of the burnt area around Snelling's Beach and Middle River. Photo: Sharon Geake.

At 11.05 am on Thursday, February 8 the CFS were alerted to a bush fire emergency at Middle River. The first vehicle and team arrived at 11.30am to come face to face with an uncontrolled fire, burning in scrub with continually changing conditions.

The fire was heading in a northerly direction towards North Coast Road, Lagoon Flat and Snelling’s Beach.

Constantly updated warnings from the CFS were issued all day via websites, messages and social media as the fire encroached nearer to homes, farms and livestock, and people were warned to leave if they were not prepared

The CFS sent out six appliances in their first response, and as the fire continued to burn over the next four days (until Sunday), there were 115 CFS members involved and 75 CFS Strike Team, including Incident Management Support.

There were 40 more supporting individuals from the SES, SAAS, SAPOL, KI Council and DEWNR, who were also assisted by 20 private farm fighting personnel pitching in to help where they could.

There were altogether 25 appliances involved, with four fixed-wing water bombers and two helicopters on the scene.

In all that chaos, smoke, fire and heat, remarkably, there were only two minor injuries, one person had a burn to the foot, but continued to fight the fire and one person suffered heat stress.

The fire was declared contained on Sunday at midday, controlled on Monday and will continue to be monitored until it is considered safe.

Once that has happened, the fire appliances, stations, KI base, equipment can be recommissioned and the fire-fighters will hopefully take a well-earned rest.

SAPOL will be continuing their investigation.

CFS Group Officer Terry May said, “These were extraordinary fire conditions compounded by extremely difficult terrain, high fuel loads and with multiple assets to defend.

“Considering everything, we had an extremely pleasing outcome.”

Letters have been pouring into The Islander office with grateful thanks to our amazing, tireless CFS team and volunteers.

  • See Letters page 8.