Firefighters battle to control bushfires

Firefightersbattle to control bushfires

14 March 2008

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Adelaide, Australia — Soaring temperatures and strong winds will cause majorconcern for firefighters battling to keep bushfires under control north andsouth of Adelaide today.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) said a fire at Willunga, south of Adelaide, whichdestroyed one home yesterday, had been contained and a fire at Williamstown, tothe north, was also under control.

But a spokesman said predictions of 40-degree heat and strong northerly windsposed a significant risk of the fires breaking through control lines.

CFS chief officer Euan Ferguson said he had real concerns for the Willunga fire.

“There is such a lot of burning material that has to be mopped up and wehave an exceptionally dangerous day today,” Mr Ferguson told ABC Radio.

“There is a probability that fire could escape.”

Overnight, about 160 firefighters got the upper hand, but not before itdestroyed 150 hectares.

Nine firefighters had to be treated for smoke inhalation and minor burnsyesterday with two being admitted to hospital.

At Williamstown, a fire that started two days ago remained under control withabout 150 firefighters monitoring the scene overnight.

A mop up would continue today while water-bombing aircraft remain on standby ifneeded in either region.

Still in the grip of drought, Adelaide yesterday surpassed a capital city’sprevious heatwave record of 10 days above 35 degrees recorded in Perth inFebruary 1988.

It’s predicted the hot weather will continue until at least Wednesday next week.

Last night, Adelaide also had its hottest March night on record, with thetemperature not dipping below 30 degrees.

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