KI fire still going, residents must conserve water

KI fire map - 7.45pn, Sunday, Jan 5
KI fire map - 7.45pn, Sunday, Jan 5

7.45PM: Good news! The fire has just been downgraded to Advice and the CFS has issued a new incident report with a lot more detail:

The Ravine fire continues to burn on the western end of Kangaroo Island, with a fire edge running between the south coast (west of Vivonne Bay) and the north coast (around Stokes Bay). It is also actively burning in remote inaccessible terrain in the Flinders Chase National Park.

Stronger winds late this afternoon has lead to an increase in fire behavior and as a result some increased smoke can be seen along the eastern side of the fire ground, particularly in the Stokes Bay. CFS issued a Watch and Act Message at 6pm. This fire behavior has is now moderated allowing us to go back to an Advice Message.

There is now visible signs of flame and smoke within in the Parndana Conservation Park.

This increase of activity is a constant reminder of how active this fire is in sections and why the community needs to maintain their vigilance.

The CFS would like to thank the community again for their support and working with the CFS to ensure their safety.

The fire has burnt a total of 155,889 ha with a perimeter of over 300 km. CFS, MFS, DEW and fire suppression aircraft have been working extensively and will continue to work across the fireground over the coming days, suppressing new fires, mopping up, patrolling and supporting residents in the fire affected areas.

Roads outside of the burnt areas are being reopened. Take care in the area, there may be roaming livestock, wildlife and conditions are smokey. Light rain has fallen across the island and roads may be slippery. For information on road closures visit www.traffic.sa.gov.au

Inside the fire ground road closures are in place to ensure the safety of emergency service crews and the public. People are asked to respect road closures as a significant risk remains across the fireground.

Residents need to be aware of hazards on the fireground when returning to their properties. Watch out for falling trees, burning trees and underground roots, damaged or blocked roads, fallen power lines, smoke, ash and possible asbestos contamination. There are large patches of unburnt ground in the area and people need to monitor their surrounds for flare ups and take action to stay safe.

A 24-hour relief centre has been established at the Kingscote Football Club, Centenary Avenue, Kingscote. For further information and to access a variety of services, ring the Disaster Recovery Hotline 1800 302 787. For emergency assistance for livestock and animals call 1800 255 556.

It is important for the community to stay alert, monitor conditions and be ready to put your Bushfire Survival Plan into action. Make sure you consider the safety of vulnerable people and the preparedness of properties and livestock.

For updates visit the CFS website (www.cfs.sa.gov.au) or phone the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 362 361.

KI fire map - 6.25pm, Sunday, Jan. 5

KI fire map - 6.25pm, Sunday, Jan. 5

7.25PM: CFS says spot fires of concern are at Stokes Bay only at this stage and no other areas of major concern elsewhere on the Island. Multiple crews have responded to the Stokes area.

7.15PM: From a Stokes Bay resident: The fires are FAR from over! We are still fighting huge fronts and continually putting out large spot fires. This will last weeks. Today was and is still massive. Between two scary fronts. Thanks for the well wishes, and will update you when we are not quite so busy saving our property. So far so good!

6.25PM: Here we go again - help get the word out please. The KI fire has just gone BUSHFIRE WATCH and ACT: Crews are currently responding to multiple spotfires east of the fire edge and around the Stokes Bay Area.Take action now as this bushfire may threaten your safety. If you are not prepared, leave now and if the path is clear, go to a safer place. Do not enter this area as conditions are dangerous.The PLAYFORD HWY/WEST END HWY, RAVINE fire is uncontrolled. Isolated locations withing the fire perimeter and outside the fire perimeter are burning in multiple directions. Conditions are continually changing.

South Coast Road on the afternoon of January 5 in the Vivonne Bay area.

South Coast Road on the afternoon of January 5 in the Vivonne Bay area.

6PM UPDATE: A few messages from the mayor Michael Pengilly, CFS and Island Care: SA Water has restored pumping at the Middle River reservoir and will start feeding raw water into the pipeline at 7.30am but this will not be going to the Kingscote tanks until back-up water treatment has arrived. It is vital Kingscote residents conserve water and use little as possible.

The BlazeAid meeting will be at the Pardana town hall at 2.30pm tomorrow where they will be registering affected farmers. About 80 to 100 ADF personnel are scheduled to arrive on Island by tomorrow evening and will be fully self contained.

Residents directly affected by the Kangaroo Island fires can apply for one-off emergency grants to assist with immediate, temporary relief. Please attend the Relief Centre at the Kingscote Football Club for further information.

Also the CFS released aircraft stats so far for KI fire:Aircraft used so far:

  • 6 x Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs)
  • 1 x Large Air Tanker ( BMBR137 3/1)
  • 2 x Rotary winged aircraft
  • 2 x Fixed winged aircraft
  • Total drop: 360
  • Total product onto fire-ground: 1,128,000 Litres approximately.
  • Total hours flown: 320 hours

Finally, Island Care on Giles Street, Kingscote is now the central collection point for food and clothing for the Island bush-affected families. The volunteers are accepting any and all donations.

As many as 30 Islanders are also making pouches and other items for injured wildlife.

Stop by to pick up or drop off anytime between 8-5 or contact Catherine Kewley.

Kangaroo Island Council CEO and Technical Programs Manager John Fernandez meet with ADF personnel who have arrived on the Island to assist with recovery.

Kangaroo Island Council CEO and Technical Programs Manager John Fernandez meet with ADF personnel who have arrived on the Island to assist with recovery.

2.30PM: Recovery efforts have begun Kangaroo Island as the full extent and impact of the fire that has burned up to one third of the island becomes clearer.

The fire that ran across the western of the Island on Friday, January 3 claimed the lives of pioneering bush pilot 'Desert Dick' Lang, 78, and his youngest son Clayton Lang, 43, one of Adelaide's leading plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

The fire also claimed an undetermined number of farming properties and houses, as well as much of the tourism infrastructure on the western end, including lodges, campgrounds and Flinders Chase National Park.

Damage is still being assessed as the Island comes to terms with the losses. Support is now coming from various levels.

The current fire map and area damaged on Kangaroo Island as of Sunday, December 5.

The current fire map and area damaged on Kangaroo Island as of Sunday, December 5.

The current fire edge extends from the West of Vivonne Bay to the north coast at Stokes Bay, and West of Parndana. There maybe areas of uncontrolled fire within this fire ground.

If you are in this area stay alert, monitor local conditions and decide what you will do if the situation changes. At this time there is no threat to life or property and firefighters are attending this fire.

For updates visit the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or phone the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 362 361.

A small bit of good news from this morning's CFS briefing. SAPOL have said all residents are now accounted for, with no further loss of life.

All roads up to fire fronts were going Tier 4 classification, open to residents. Tier 1 (emergency services only) remain where fire still burning. Authorities want to get locals back in while weather has calmed. This may change when warmer weather and risk returns.

Water needs to be conserved as the SA Water treatment at Middle River reservoir has sustained significant damage.

Water needs to be conserved as the SA Water treatment at Middle River reservoir has sustained significant damage.

Water and power infrastructure damage

SA Water is very concerned about the Island's water supply and is urging everyone to conserve across the Island, including on the Penneshaw network.

A spokesperson said the good news was that demand had dropped following the public appeal, for which it was grateful.

Water was currently being tracked from the small desalination plant at Penneshaw to Kingscote to shore up supplies.

The water in the system was safe but needed to be conserved as the water treatment at Middle River reservoir has sustained significant damage.

SA Water crews had not been able to access the plant due to it being in the centre of the fire ground, but it was expected repairs would take weeks.

The priority was now to get a large portable water treatment plant at Middle River so supply can resume.

In the interim, large water bladders would be stationed at locations including Parndana and Kingscote, where residents can get drinking water if needed.

Current power outages area affecting 600 customers including Parndana on Kangaroo Island as of Sunday afternoon.

Current power outages area affecting 600 customers including Parndana on Kangaroo Island as of Sunday afternoon.

There are also extensive power outages across the Island, affecting about 600 customers in the fire affected area, as well as Parndana. Power at Kingscote was also briefly interrupted on Sunday morning due to a separate issue.

Paul Roberts from SA Power Networks said extra crews and electricians had arrived on the Island but were having difficult accessing the area.

The focus what restoring the main feeder to the western end and in particular to the Middle River reservoir so ensure water supply.

A helicopter was today assessing the damage but individual customers may need to have their properties certified by an electrician to make sure reconnection was safe.

Recovery coordinator appointed, ADF arrive

The State Government has appointed parks and wildlife leader Mike Williams as Local Recovery Coordinator for Kangaroo Island, in the wake of a series of catastrophic bushfires.

Members of the Australian Defence Force have also with the KI Council on Sunday to start the process of mobilisation of reservists to the Island.

The SA Premier Stephen Marshall on Sunday afternoon was surveying the damage across the Island from a helicopter.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said Mr Williams, a National Parks and Wildlife Service Executive Director who brings expertise in fire management to the role, will support the Kangaroo Island community as they come to grips with their recovery needs.

"This is an unprecedented tragedy for the Kangaroo Island community, who are now facing a recovery effort on a scale never seen before on the island," she said.

"Mr Williams will work with locals to coordinate recovery measures and help residents, primary producers, tourism operators and other local businesses navigate a way forward.

"His appointment recognises the unique challenges facing Kangaroo Island as it embarks on the process of recovery, including geographic isolation, losses relative to population, impacts on local economic activity and community wellbeing.

"Mr Williams' leadership will be a critical boost for this tight knit community and ensure the voices of KI locals are heard at this difficult and heartbreaking time."

For the latest information on current relief and recovery operations, including relief centre locations and opening times, grants and financial assistance, mental health resources and more, please visit www.dhs.sa.gov.au/recovery or phone the Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787 (8am - 8pm).

Relief centre and donations

Residents are learning what friends and family have lost as the reality of the situation sinks in.

Offers of help and donations have flooded in and the advice is that what would help most to the financial contribution to the KI Mayoral Relief and Recovery Bushfire Fund.

Bank account details are BSB:105 094; Account Number: 035 680 540; Account Name: Mayoral Bushfire fund; International deposit enter Swift Code: SGBLAU2S

Island tour guide Nikki Redman has also set up a GoFundMe page to feed into the account, making it easier for concerned international people and others to donate. Click here for the page

The 24-hour-relief centre at the Kingscote football oval is slowly clearing out as displaced visitors find they're way further east and off the Island.

There have been hundreds camped at the oval in recent days, in caravan and campers or just cars or also sleeping on the floor inside the shed.

The Islander spoke to one family who were travelling to relatives on Gosse Ritchie Road on Friday when the fire started happening around them and they were advised to get out.

They stopped briefly in Parndana and then were evacuated that night to Kingscote, along with the CFS KI operation base. Their plan was to spend a few days camped at Antechamber Bay before leaving on the ferry.

Another family that had been at Discovery Lagoon on Friday were waiting to get on the next available ferry.

Statement from KI mayor

Kangaroo Island Mayor Pengilly has again expressed his sincere gratitude to everyone volunteering their time and skills to make the Island safe and support those who have suffered significant losses.

"I have never experienced such devastation' Mayor Pengilly said. "I am so proud of the way Islanders are pulling together to support each other and I thank all the mainlanders that are coming to our aid when we need help most' Mayor Pengilly said.

"You can't but admire the volunteer work ethic, locals offering accommodation to complete strangers, business to business support, all types of donations flooding in, the three levels of government working together, our visitors being cared for. The Island spirit is very strong.

"I just ask we all continue to stick together, the emergency situation is far from over, so please continue to obey authorities directions, respect road blocks and continue to tune in to ABC891 or 5AA, The Islander on Facebook.

"We will recover if we continue to embrace and support each other. The road to relief and recovery is going to be long and difficult. The healing and repair has begun and your Council will do whatever it can to meet community needs and expectations."

Tribute to fire victims

It is with great sadness that the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) has learned of the loss of one of the tourism industry's great 'bush pilots', Dick Lang and his son Clayton, in the Kangaroo Island fires in South Australia.

Dick Lang, with his wife Helen, ran one of Australia's oldest running air safari companies and had been a long-standing contributor to Australia's tourism industry.

Commencing in 1966, Dick Lang was considered a pioneer of ecotourism in Australia with tours that specialised in harder to reach destinations specifically within National Parks.

With a strong commitment to high standards and quality experiences, Dick Lang's Bush Pilots long held accreditation with ATIC under the Quality Tourism Framework which helps deliver resilient and stronger tourism businesses.

The Australian tourism industry expresses its sincere condolences to the Lang family during this most difficult time.

ATIC is the national representative body of Australia's State and Territory tourism industry councils (TIC).

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said: "Like all Australians we are dismayed by the ongoing devastation caused by the bushfires impacting many of our regional communities across the nation where tourism is now an important social and economic pillar.

"The bushfire crisis has and will continue to have a significant impact on our industry both directly and indirectly moving forward. But the immediate priority is for our industry and our tens of thousands of businesses to best support their local communities as authorities work to curtail threatening fires," Mr Westaway said.

This story KI fire still going, residents must conserve water first appeared on The Islander.

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