Updated: Concerns about Pinery spot fires

Pinery fire: CFS get control


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Lower North fire contained, risks still present

Monday 12pm

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The Pinery fire has been declared ‘contained’ however the Country Fire Service has issued warnings of minor flare-ups.

With today’s expected weather conditions of high temperatures and strong winds, the CFS has warned there is potential for the existing control lines to be breached.

There is also increased smoke and dust through the area.

Residents in the fire ground are advised to check properties for the presence of fires and embers, particularly in roof spaces, under decks, raised floors and in gutters.

CFS crews, supported by counterparts from Victoria, SES and other agencies including farm fire units, will continue to patrol and mop up the fire affected area day and night.

Total fire bans have been issued for eight districts throughout SA including the Mid North.

Smoke and dust is also impacting people in the area of the Pinery fire as well as Yattalunga, One Tree Hill and Mount Crawford.

This is causing low visibility on the Horrocks Highway, which is now closed between Roseworthy and Tarlee.

2.30pm

EIGHTY seven homes have been destroyed by the Pinery fire in the state’s Lower North.

Earlier today it was announced that the fire had been contained, with 200 firefighters remaining on the fireground to monitor and control any flare-ups.

A further 388 farm sheds and outbuildings, 93 pieces of farm machinery and 98 vehicles were destroyed.

Two people have died.

Five people remain in a critical condition in hospital with serious burns.

Ninety people have sought assistance for very minor to critical injuries.

PIRSA has assessed more than 270 properties in the fireground. They continue to help farmers and livestock owners.

More than 50,000 poultry were lost in the fire.

About 950 sheep have had to be euthanised (a number which is expected to rise sharply).

The number of sows killed at the Wasleys Piggery has been revised down to 500.

About 200 homes remain without power.

A public meeting will be held at Kapunda this afternoon at 4pm to provide information directly to local communities.

Relief centres at the Gawler Sport and Recreation Centre, the Balaklava Racecourse and the Clare Showgrounds remain open.

Bushfire recovery hotline 1800 302 787.

12.45pm

THE Pinery fire in the Lower North of the state has been contained.

But there is still some active fire within control lines so risks are still present. 

Visibility may be reduced from smoke in the area and there is a danger of falling trees. 

Residents are advised to check their properties for the presence of fires and embers - particularly in roof spaces, under decks, raised floors and in gutters. The public is advised to take care in the fire area over the next few days.

Country Fire Service crews, supported by crews from the Victorian Country Fire Authority, will continue to monitor the fire day and night at the weekend. 

To ensure the safety of emergency service workers working along the roadsides around the Pinery fire ground, road users are reminded that the speed limit is 25 kilometres an hour when passing emergency vehicles with flashing lights operating.

A community meeting will be held at the Kapunda Institute Memorial Hall on Hill Street, Kapunda today at 4pm.

Bushfire recovery hotline of 1800 302 787.

TRANSPORT OPENED: Roads open at Pinery fire. Source: SAPOL

TRANSPORT OPENED: Roads open at Pinery fire. Source: SAPOL

10am

ROADS have reopened within the Pinery fireground with authorities stating the fire was 75 per cent contained.

BLACKENED LANDSCAPE: A structure continues to burn near Hamley Bridge yesterday.

BLACKENED LANDSCAPE: A structure continues to burn near Hamley Bridge yesterday.

However warnings are in place that there is still potential for flare ups, as well as embers and smoke from burning structures such as hay stacks.

There are also warnings about the hazards of burning trees falling.

The two people killed in the fire have been confirmed as Allan Tiller, Pinery, and Janet Hughes, Hamley Bridge.

AFTERMATH: A homestead near Hamley Bridge on Thursday.

AFTERMATH: A homestead near Hamley Bridge on Thursday.

There have been no further fatalities, however 19 people have been reported injured.

The number of homes lost has been revised to more than 35, along with 166 sheds.

The fire has burnt an area of 82,600 hectares and has a 265 kilometre perimeter.

VEHICLE LOSSES: A burnt out car and horse float near Hamley Bridge on Thursday.

VEHICLE LOSSES: A burnt out car and horse float near Hamley Bridge on Thursday.

Community meetings are planned for the Mallala Institute on Dublin Road at 10am today and at the Kapunda Institute Memorial Hall on Hill Street at 4pm.

The public has been reminded emergency services personnel are still working in the area.

They are asked to obey the reduced speed limits and give way to emergency vehicles.

DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: Scenes from near Hamley Bridge on Thursday.

DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: Scenes from near Hamley Bridge on Thursday.

4.30pm

AUTHORITIES are hopeful they can declare the Pinery fire ground contained within the next 24 hours.

The 85,000-hectare fire ground has remained unchanged in size since last night, and Premier Jay Wetherall said large areas of the 200 kilometre perimeter was under control.

However he has warned against complacency.

“There are sporadic flare ups occurring, and it’s still extremely hazardous,” he said.

There have been no further reports of fatalities, and no reports of missing people.

The SA Ambulance Service has reported treating 30 people, with 16 of these hospitalised, and five considered critical.

Mr Wetherall said there were 16 houses confirmed destroyed and 22 significant buildings along with dozens of vehicles and farm machines.

“These are interim figures, they are expected to increase; we can’t access large chunks of the ground.

Country Fire Service chief officer Greg Nettleton estimated 60 per cent of the fire was contained.

“We are fortunate we have gone into much kinder weather patterns, with the temperature decreasing, and humidity increasing,” he said,

“The wind is no where near as vicious as yesterday.

“We have made steady progress in securing the perimeter.”

Mr Nettleton said the areas under control were primarily the pasture and cropping grounds, with little timber.

“The priority now is to the north east, where there is more undulating country and heavy timber,” he said.

“That’s where we will be working tonight.”

Mr Nettleton said there are about 200 CFS personnel on the ground, along with 50 appliances.

These are supported with strike teams from the Metropolitan Fire Service, while about 300 Country Fire Authority members are due to join the two strike teams already on the fire ground.

Mr Nettleton said the interstate assistance would help speed up the containment to allow residents to return home quicker.

He is hopeful local residents can return to their homes within 24 or 48 hours.

He said it would also allow those CFS members who live locally to be relieved and look after their own affairs.

The CFA will set up a base at Nuriootpa High School.

Crime scene investigators from SA Police, along with MFS investigators have been on site at the fire’s starting point near Pinery.

SAPOL Commissioner Grant Stevens said it was still too early to be conclusive, however it did not appear to be deliberately lit.

Mr Wetherall said the fire ground has been declared a ‘Catastrophe’, which will speed up the claims process for those involved.

Cash grants are also available of $280 per adult and $140 per child, up to $700 per family, to provide help with out-of-pocket expenses for those affected.

These will be available to access at the relief centres at Gawler, Balaklava and Clare.

“As the fire threat eases, we turn towards recovery,” he said.

Former CFS chief officer Vince Monterola has been named as the recovery officer for the fire.

Staff from PIRSA are on site to evaluate livestock and can be contacted on 08 8207 7847.

Those needing emergency fodder for livestock, and those who wish to donate fodder, are encouraged to contact Livestock SA on 08 8297 2299.

Work is ongoing to restore electricity to the 3000 houses without power, while the Department of Transport is working to clear roads.

3.40pm The latest map of the Pinery fireground

For the latest fire updates, visit the CFS website.

6.30am TWO people have been confirmed dead after a devastating bushfire swept through the Lower North yesterday.

A 56 year old woman from Hamley Bridge and a 69 year old man from Pinery have lost their lives.

Premier Jay Weatherill said their families had been informed.

“Our deepest sympathies go to those families, their friends and the broader community,” he said.

Thirteen people has been hospitalised, with five of those either in a critical or serious condition with significant burns.

“We know that one of those people has burns to more than 80pc of their body, their condition is being closely monitored , but we do hold grave concerns for them,” Mr Weatherill said.

While at least two of those injured were “believed” to have been fighting fires, none have been confirmed as Country Fire Service firefighters.

Mr Weatherill confirmed that the 210 kilometre perimeter of the fire had not expanded since about midnight.

But it remained “going”, with an active fire burning within the perimeter.

Even though a significant proportion of the fire perimeter had been controlled and conditions were milder overnight, many fire fronts were still active within the fireground and would continue to be battled for some days.

“Areas of concern for today continue to be focused on the eastern flank of the fire, close to the Horrocks Highway,” Mr Weatherill said.

“The fire so far has directly affected the communities of Owen, Freeling, Hamley Bridge, Wasleys, Kapunda and Tarlee.”

While little damage assessment had been conducted, due to teams unable to access much of the fireground, initial estimates showed at least 16 homes, a number of outbuildings and an unknown number of machinery and vehicles have been destroyed.

So far the fire had burnt an estimated 85,000 hectares of grass, cropping land and scrub.

“However I wish to stress that this is a very early assessment and access was only achieved in some parts of the fireground.

Further to this a significant number of stock and crops have been lost including a piggery with an estimated 500 sows.

Livestock assessment teams from PIRSA will be available from this morning to assist landowners in assessing and helping burned or injured livestock.

Stockowners needing assisting to locate, inspect and assess burned livestock can call PIRSA’s stock assistance hotline.

Bushfire recovery hotline 1800 302 787

PIRSA’s stock assistance hotline on 08 8207 7847

MORE TO COME

10pm TWO people have been confirmed dead after a devastating bushfire swept through the Lower North this afternoon.

One body has been discovered in a paddock near Pinery, while the other was found in a car near Hamley Bridge. There are also unconfirmed reports of a third fatality at Freeling after a car reportedly hit a tree.

“It’s obviously the very worst of news to hear that there’s at least two, possibly three fatalities as a consequence of this fire,” Premier Jay Weatherill said. “Our thoughts are with the families of those affected and we’ll communicate with them as soon as we possibly can.”

At least three people helping fight the fires had been injured and taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with severe burns, although it is unclear if the injured were Country Fire Service volunteers or were manning private firefighting units.

According to the latest estimates, the fire has burnt 85,700 hectares of land, with the fire perimeter stretching 211 kilometres – the equivalent of a straight line from Adelaide to Port Pirie. No estimates on homes, sheds, crop or livestock losses have been made, but damage to properties in the fireground is thought to be extensive.

“We know of one significant stock loss at a piggery at Wasleys,” Mr Weatherill said. “We also know there have been properties lost or affected around Tarlee, Freeling and Kapunda.”

Fire has also cut power to more than 15,000 homes.

Mr Weatherill said the fire danger was far from over, with the next six to 12 hours “critical”.

He said 75 firefighting appliances and 340 volunteer firefighters were on the ground, battling an active front along about 40km between Nuriootpa and Kapunda.

As of 7pm, the Pinery blaze had burnt vast areas of the Lower North, with firefighters still battling the firefront near Kapunda.

As of 7pm, the Pinery blaze had burnt vast areas of the Lower North, with firefighters still battling the firefront near Kapunda.

“This has been a devastating few hours for large parts of our state, and unfortunately it will be some time before this fire is under control,” he said.

“If conditions allow, in the next few hours we’ll attempt to actively place control lines in front of the fire. Depending on the conditions, we know that there will be at least three or four days ahead of us.”

CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton said dropping temperatures and increasing humidity would help reduce the intensity of the fires.

The blaze started at Pinery at about midday and quickly stretched over a 15km firefront. Affected towns included Pinery, Mallala, Kapunda, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee and northern parts of Nuriootpa. Thick smoke from the fire made aerial bombing difficult, but several local and two NSW-based bombers – a DC10 and C130 – were used to try and slow the blaze.

Strong winds meant the fire moved at high speed, travelling more than 50km in four hours. One school was evacuated and several schools in the area are unlikely to open tomorrow.

“There is no known cause for this fire yet, however it will be thoroughly investigated,” Mr Weatherill said.

“Our greatest priority at this time is ensuring the safety of everybody in the affected area. We’ve evacuated some and many others have done the right thing and followed their bushfire action plans and have self-evacuated for safety.”

Three emergency relief centres have been established – at the Balaklava Showgrounds, Clare Showgrounds and the Gawler Recreation and Sports Centre.

“We encourage people to head to these centres, where they’ll have support, somewhere to sleep, food and water, plus access to the latest information,” Mr Weatherill said.

Two hundred Vic firefighters and 50 appliances are set to arrive tomorrow morning to relieve exhausted CFS crews and help firefighting efforts.

Bushfire recovery hotline 1800 302 787

7:30pm COUNTRY Fire Service units continue to battle an extremely dangerous bushfire burning out of control near Kapunda in the Mid North.

Temperatures during the day neared 40 degrees, while strong winds proved especially hazardous.

The latest CFS Bushfire Emergency Warning Message has been issued for residents at Marrabel, Eudunda and Dutton.

The fire, which started at Pinery in the Lower North is travelling in a north easterly direction towards Marrabel, Eudunda and Dutton. The entire fire ground is still active and the public should remain vigilant overnight.

The CFS says those in the area are in danger.

"Check and follow your Bushfire Survival Plan. Conditions at this fire may get worse very quickly," the emergency message states.

"Leave now if the path is clear to a safe place.

"Homes are not designed or constructed to withstand a fire in these conditions.

"Shelter before the fire arrives as radiant heat can kill you well before the flames reach you."

Smoke from the Pinery fire is being reported between Murray Bridge and Renmark and throughout the Riverland.

CFS Media says that members of the public should not be concerned by the smoke.

"Residents in the area are advised to close doors and windows until the smoke passes," a CFS spokesperson said.

"Those travelling in the area should exercise caution as smoke may reduce visibility."

People with respiratory problems are advised to stay inside and close all doors and windows until the smoke has passed.

6pm The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion has opened two Emergency Relief Centres north of Adelaide, located at Balaklava and Gawler.

The Balaklava ERC is at the Balaklava Racecourse, Racecourse Road, Balaklava, while the Gawler ERC is located at the Gawler Recreation and Sports Centre, Nixon Terrace, Gawler.

Anyone in need of a safe place to go is urged to make their way to these relief centres.

The SA Police website has information about emergency road closures to ensure residents can make their way to the relief centres safely.

5:30pm The CFS says the the threat posed by the Lameroo fire near Coonalpyn Road, Airport Road, Trowbridge Road, Allenby Road, Drought Road, Schroeter Road and Schiller Road has reduced.

Although the threat has reduced, the CFS is advising residents to be aware that some risks are still present.

There may be smoke in the area so visibility may be reduced and there may be falling trees.

Residents are advised to check their property for fires and embers - particularly in roof spaces, under decks, raised floors and in gutters - and to take care in the fire area over the next few days.

2:30pm THE Country Fire Service has issued an emergency warning to those in the Lower North as a bushfire burns under catastrophic weather conditions.

The fire at Pinery is heading towards the township of Mallala, and has cross Traeger Road between Mallala and Balaklava.

This road is closed.

The Pinery fire is travelling in a South East direction towards Mallala.

Those in the area are asked to act immediately and follow their bushfire survival plan.

The CFS has warned people not to leave or enter the area in a vehicle or on foot as the roads will not be safe.

Instead they advise to take shelter in a building and actively defend it.

Shelter before the fire arrives as radiant heat can kill.

If the building catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, leave to an area already burnt.

Once the fire front has passed, check the immediate area and extinguish anything burning.

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