Adelaide Hills fire threatens lives, homes

Adelaide Hills fire threatens lives, homes

10 May 2013

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Australia — A HOUSE has been destroyed as a bushfire continues to burn out of control in the Adelaide Hills, prompting a warning of risk to lives and to other properties.

The Country Fire Service said on Friday a shed had also been destroyed, 250 hectares of scrub had been burnt out and some people had left their properties at Cherryville, Marble Hill and Basket Range.

The destroyed house was in Blockers Road at Basket Range and a neighbour told ABC radio he heard explosions sounding like artillery.

The CFS said three residents had been defending the house before they had to leave.

A spokesman said the fire began when a private burn-off flared out of control in unseasonably warm weather on Thursday afternoon.

In its updated emergency warning late on Friday, the CFS said the fire was burning out of control near Merchants, Wyes, Hunters, Knots Hill, Blockers and Cherryville roads.

“There is a risk to lives and homes,” it warns, advising people to follow their bushfire survival plan.

It continues to burn in inaccessible areas and was expanding in different directions.

Hundreds of firefighters are involved in the battle, while aerial bombers joined in on Friday.

The planes were not deployed on Thursday, as none had been on standby since the official fire danger season ended last month.

But a CFS spokesman said if the bombers were used on Thursday they would not have been particularly effective, due to the inaccessible terrain.

CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton said the fire was “burning up slopes and up some of the valleys”.

“We’re waiting for the fire to come out to an area where we can actually have some tactical advantage to suppress the fire.”

Roads have been closed and police have imposed traffic restrictions in the area to ensure the safety of the public and emergency service personnel.

CFS coordinator Mark Thomason expected it would take quite some time to control the bushfires.

“We’ve got another two to three days here,” he said.

“We’re trying to put in a backburn on Big Range Road, which is the most northern section of the fire.

“To do that we are trying to punch a ‘dozer line through scrub at the moment and then when weather conditions are favourable put in a backburn.”

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