Australia — TWO people have been reported for allegedly accidentally starting a large fire at Brown Hill Creek that forced the evacuation of a nearby caravan park last night.
Police allege the couple were cooking fish using a portable gas stove, when hot oil spilled and ignited dry grass.
The couple tried to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful.
Country Fire Service crews attended the scene and contained the fire.
A Glenalta man, 20, and a Flagstaff Hill woman, 20, were reported for recklessly causing a bushfire.
They will be summonsed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court at a later date.
There were some suggestions from people in the vicinity of the blaze that the fire was caused by a burning Valentine’s Day love heart in the grass but the CFS said police investigations had concluded hot oil was the cause.
The blaze broke out near Brown Hill Creek Rd, Mitcham, southeast of Adelaide, about 8.30pm, but was quickly brought under control by the CFS.
Brown Hill Creek Caravan Park owner Gavin Dyer told adelaidenow today the 130-140 visitors staying at the caravan park were in high spirits this morning, despite being evacuated for about two hours last night.
He said pre-designated evacuation points at the Edinburgh Hotel and Sturt Baseball Club stopped people from panicking.
“When everybody is together they act differently. It becomes a bit more of a community,” he said.
He said some international visitors would be fascinated by the fire because they had never experienced anything liek it before.
Mr Dyer paid tribute to the work of Country Fire Service volunteers – “they are pretty special”.
Witness Alice, of Hawthorndene, who drove past the fire, said no homes or buildings were threatened but flames – whipped up by a strong breeze – spread down the western side of the hill towards the caravan park before being extinguished by CFS volunteers.
“We called firies and a lot of fire trucks quickly came up the hill and (firefighters) put out one side of the fire which was heading towards the caravan park so it couldn’t start up again if the wind changed,” she said.
“They had it pretty much under control when we left about 9pm.”
Sixty firefighters battled the blaze for over an hour, restricting its spread to four hectares and preventing damage to properties.
CFS state coordinator Mark Thomason said people need to be aware of restriction in place during the fire danger season, from December 1 to April 30 in the Mount Lofty Rangers and metropolitan area.
“For a number of activities, such as barbecues, lighting fires, angle grinding (and) welding, persons operating those devices need to take precautions,” he said.
“There has to be a four-metre clearance of all flammable material and a means of extinguishing a fire.
“The only thing that changes is when we declare a day of total fire ban.”
Mr Thomason said a portable stove is considered naked flame and a potential danger.
“Last night it was during the fire danger season and they needed to take precautions,” he said.