Kangaroo Is bushfire fight intensifies

Kangaroo Is bushfire fight intensifies

12 December 2007

published by news.smh.com.au

Australia — Firefighters on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island are concentrating their efforts on a fire in the Flinders Chase National Park.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) said the blaze, which already had destroyed more than 11,000 hectares of scrub and wilderness, was causing crews most concern ahead of more severe weather predicted for Thursday and Friday.

Two other fires, burning for almost a week on the north and south coasts of the island, were largely contained with patrols there mopping up and monitoring hotspots.

“Most resources are being concentrated in fighting this (the Flinders Chase) blaze,” a CFS spokeswoman said.

“Crews are conducting backburning operations along the eastern side and their efforts are being supported by aerial water bombing and observation aircraft.”

Volunteers from five states are now involved in the island emergency with firefighters from Western Australia on Wednesday joining colleagues from SA, Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Of some concern is the Thursday forecast for winds to increase and shift to the northeast bringing warmer conditions, the mercury expected to rise to the low to mid 30s celsius.

The three island fires still burning were among 12 sparked by lightning almost a week ago.

They have blackened more than 30,000 hectares with concerns held at one stage for a number of properties.

The fires have claimed one life, with the body of a man helping with the firefighting being found in his burnt out truck near Vivonne Bay, on the island’s south coast last week.

In support of the firefighting police maintained a dangerous zone declaration over much of Kangaroo Island on Wednesday, restricting the movement of visitors and locals.

But tourist operators again urged those planning to visit the island not to cancel their trips.

Their calls followed moves to reopen some of the island’s key tourist attractions, including a number of national parks.

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