GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush Fires in South Australia

12 January 2005

Deadly flight from fire: toll now nine January 12, 2005 – 4:36PM

The burned out wreck of a car in which a mother and two children are believedto have perished after crashing through fences and into a tree in a bid tooutrun the bushfire at Poonindie, north of Port Lincoln. Photo: Dallas KilponenEight of the nine victims of South Australia’s worst bushfire in 20 years – nowdeclared a major emergency – perished in their cars trying to outrun the blaze.Fourteen people are still missing and more than 100 people injured. Four of thedead are children. The cause of the fire is unknown. Five houses, two cabins,three sheds, one shop, three vans, 15 caravans, two buses, and four boats havebeen destroyed. There were an estimated 150,000 sheep in the 55-kilometre areahit by the fires. More than 300 firefighters are battling the blaze, which hasnow been declared a major emergency. The declaration requires emergency aid andrecovery to be provided for 48 hours. A major incident declaration provides aidfor 12 hours. The ANZ bank said it would provide an immediate $10,000 cash grantto mortgage customers whose homes had been totally destroyed, and $5000 to thosewhose homes had been partially destroyed. The main firefront has been contained.The fire is still burning slowly in some areas but no homes or properties arethreatened.
SA Police Assistant Commissioner Gary Burns said he did not expect the deathtoll to rise. Earlier today, police said two more bodies had been found on thestate’s Eyre Peninsula, taking the toll to 10, but that had since been revised.It is understood the ninth victim was a woman, found in her home at NorthShields, but police said there had been no confirmation of the identities of anyof the victims. “It will be some time, perhaps days, before the identity ofany of the deceased can be established,” police spokeswoman Senior SergeantKylie Walsh said. Snr Sgt Walsh said police and State Emergency Servicepersonnel were today visiting the fire-damaged properties of those missing tocheck on their welfare. Eight people, including two children aged four and two,perished yesterday in cars while trying to escape from the bushfire. Five of thedead were found dead on a road near the southern Eyre Peninsula town of Wanilla,two in one vehicle and three in another. And three people died in a car on thePort Lincoln Highway at the nearby town of Poonindie. The entire lower EyrePeninsula had been cut off by the blaze, which has raced across 45,000ha sinceMonday afternoon. South Australia Emergency Services Minister Patrick Conlonsaid the scale of the destruction was staggering. “This is certainly theworst fire since Ash Wednesday in 1983, certainly in terms of causalities, interms of deaths,” he told the Seven Network today. “It’s the type offire that we know that we have the potential for and we all hope will neverhappen. “Unfortunately it has happened.” Some 28 people were killed inthe 1983 Ash Wednesday blaze in the state’s south-east and Adelaide Hills.Another 47 people died in those fires in Victoria. Tomorrow is expected to behot again, with a top temperature of about 36 degrees. Mr Conlon said ifresidents in the affected areas had not taken precautions to be able properlydefend their homes, they must evacuate early. AAP 


Incident WEST COAST FIRE UPDATEINCIDENT 11:00 AM 12 January 2005
CFS crews are closer to having the main firefront of the West Coast blazecontained. The firefront was burning along Bratten Way, between Cummins andTumby Bay. The fire is still burning slowly in some areas however, no homes orproperties are threatened. More than 300 volunteer firefighters are currently atthe scene. For further information contact the CFS Hotline on 1300 362 361.
Contact No: 1300 362 361. Source: SACountry Fire Service


Latest MODIS Satellite Scenes from 11 and 12 January 2005:

11 January 2005
0030 UTC

11 January 2005
0445 UTC

12 January 2005
0110 UTC



Further Information on the Fire Situation in Australia:

SA Country Fire Service  Near-Real Time Wildland Fire Monitoring  Current weather situation, forecasts, fireweather Actual fire Situation Tasmania Actual Fire Situation Maps, Tasmania More Information on Australian Fires IFFN country notes Further Information Australian and New Zealand links. Background information Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics


Australia´s fire seasons


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