Spot fires flare in Kangaroo Island bushfire, scenes of devastation, advice warning extends east

The CFS issued a new Advice message and warning area for the Kangaroo Island bushfire at 4.30pm Sunday, January 12.

The PLAYFORD HWY/WEST END HWY, RAVINE ADVICE WARNING was issued for the Eastern, North Eastern and Southern areas of Kangaroo Island, which includes Vivionne Bay, Emu Bay, along the Cygnet river, Kingscote airport, as well as Vivionne Bay Conservation Park, Lathami Conservation Park and Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park areas on Kangaroo Island.

If you are in this area stay alert, monitor local conditions and decide what you will do if the situation changes.

At this time there is no threat to life or property and firefighters are attending this fire.

For new updates and warning visit the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or phone the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 362 361.

The CFS says there is a lot of spot fire activity around Parndana, down the Kohinoor hill to the Bark Hut Road area and also south to the Birchmore and Vivonne Bay areas, similar to the past two days.

Crews are working to control each spot fire if it threatens to breaks out, using five water bombers and Elsie the helicopter. Report fires but there is a lot smoke and smaller fire activity. Only call 000 if you think they are new or if you think they might endanger property or infrastructures.

Obey road closures, stay vigilant and remember the central area of Kingscote and Penneshaw are the Bushfire Safer Places. Stay up to date on the radio or Alert SA app.

The CFS is concerned about tomorrow's hot and windy weather but will be working to control the spot fires through the night.

Kangaroo Island fire map - Sunday, January 12 - the hatched area is the burned area and the blue is the current bushfire warning area.

Kangaroo Island fire map - Sunday, January 12 - the hatched area is the burned area and the blue is the current bushfire warning area.

CFS statement and stats

Statement from Kangaroo Island Complex Incident Controller Ian Tanner:

"The Ravine fire continues to be uncontrolled. Firefighters and emergency services continue to attempt to control small breakouts through suppression and the creation of mineral earth breaks and grader lines.

"Each afternoon we are seeing increased fire activity, and today was no exceptions, with firefighters challenged with breakouts near Stokes Bay and Bark Hut. Water bombers were also called in to assist.

"Firefighters conducted a small strategic back burn on Rowland Hill Highway to strengthen control lines.

"The fire front is approximately 120km long - that is further than Cape Jervis to Adelaide. Firefighters are patrolling this 120km front in firetrucks and on foot to ensure that every hot spot is extinguished.

"This is painstaking work for firefighters to ensure that this fire has limited breakouts ahead of tomorrow's deteriorating fire conditions.

"Tomorrow will be hot and windy. These will provide difficult conditions for our firefighters to work in.

"We are again calling on the community to be vigilant and ensure they stay informed of changing conditions."

The Kangaroo Island Complex in numbers:

Since December 20:

  • 216,000 hectares burned
  • 528km fire perimeter
  • 496 hours of aircraft flying, 1148 drops, 3,2 million litres of aerial firefighting product dropped.

Current statistics

  • About 300+ personnel on the ground across agencies
  • 77 firetrucks
  • Aircraft: 7x firebombers, 4x observational aircraft and 1x Erickson Aircrane (Elsie)
  • 350 Australian Defence Force personnel

Journey into the fire zone

The Islander travelled out west today as far as the Turkey Lane airstrip and the damaged SA Water Middle River water treatment plant.

The airstrip and adjacent treatment plant were a hive of activity, despite being in the middle of a badly burned area.

The extent of the devastation in his area and ferocity of the fire that burned through on Friday, January 3 was shocking, with endless scorched farmland, wildlife, scrub and timber plantations.

Farmers we spoke to were simply too tired, traumatised or busy to go on record or be photographed.

While the farmers have worked tirelessly to euthanase stock, there are still bushfire affected sheep visible in the unburned and lightly burned paddocks.

Sheep are even drowning in the sludge of emptied dams as the lack of fencing prevents them from wandering.

Most stock have now been dealt with by farmers and stockmen and buried, sometimes with the help of the Army.

Extensive mineral earth containment lines have been put in and continued to be cut across paddocks and along road edges.

I also travelled as far as Stokes Bay and while I am pleased to report the bay area down at the coast, including the Rock Pool Cafe, caravan park and shacks are unaffected.

But up the road back towards Parndana the devastation extended along both side of Stokes Bay Road all the way to the Cygnet River crossing, with more lightly burned patches further south to Pioneer Bend Road.

Sadly we can confirm the newly renovated section of the Stokes Bay Hall was destroyed, while the older church building also burned but was still standing.

I met with farmers who were all still dealing with their own situation, from total and partial loss to defending their and others' property. They are all exhausted after dealing with the fire, losses of stock, fencing and in some cases homes.

The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park just outside Parndana was also bustling with staff, volunteers, the State's official wildlife responders, vets, RSPCA and the Army all working together.

Park operator Sam Mitchell said a new large enclosure was being built to house koalas, but there is also other, native wildlife being brought in including kangaroos, wallabies, possums echidnas and birds.

Not all could be saved, but he said he had the resources required to care for the survivors, including staff from the Hunter Valley Zoo and the Army building the new enclosure.

He said the park would have seen hundreds of injured wildlife come through the gate.

Back in Parndana, it was also busy. The power in the town returned on Saturday afternoon, and Michael and Jenny Boyd at the local IGA supermarket were busy feeding emergency personnel and locals.

There were a constant stream of traffic along the Playford Highway, including trucks evacuating whole mobs of sheep out of the fire ground and bringing hay bales into the burned areas.

Fire was still active in the roadside vegetation all the way from west of Ropers Road to Parndana and view from the top of the Kohinoor hill had the landscape dotted with spot fires.

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