PM visits KI as fire threat continues

KI bushfire crisis continues - fire keeps burning, relief floods in, PM visits

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The latest on what's happened on KI bushfire crisis in the past 24 hours.

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PRIME Minister Scott Morrison and SA Premier Stephen Marshall visited the control base at the KI Airport near Kingscote yesterday.

The PM announced tax-free Category C funding of $10,000 for small business and $15,000 for farmers, part of an $11-million fund for SA split between state and federal governments.

He also spoke about the general economic impact of the fire on the Island's agriculture and tourism economy.

He urged people to keep visiting KI in the weeks ahead, even suggesting visitors who cancelled should consider holding off on asking for their accommodation refunds.

Businesses on two-thirds of the Island that remains unaffected are desperate for visitors as this is normally their busiest time of year.

RELATED READING:Community encouraged to dig deep for SA Bushfire Appeal

KI Mayor Michael Pengilly joined the Premier in welcoming the PM to KI.

"This visit by the PM to see first hand and hear direct from those impacted by the bushfire devastation was an important part of the healing process," Mr Pengilly said.

"The visit was also about planning to repair Island infrastructure and get people and businesses to bounce back to some semblance of normality."

The relief and recovery effort rolls on with money flooding in and the Army working to shore-up water supplies and help clean up the devastation on the Island's farms.

The damage assessment has now been completed for the private properties.

CFS has received advice from SA Police and other emergency services that a total of 233 properties have been assessed, with 56 homes and 257 vehicles destroyed, major damage to 10 buildings, minor damage to 18 buildings and 236 outbuildings damaged.

Recent Sentinel-3 satellite imagery from Kangaroo Island processed by local Boone Law. Date Jan 7 2020. Show burned areas in red, unburned as green.

Recent Sentinel-3 satellite imagery from Kangaroo Island processed by local Boone Law. Date Jan 7 2020. Show burned areas in red, unburned as green.

But the fire threat remains on-going as the weather turns unfavourable today.

Yesterday, a preemptive relocation for people in Vivonne Bay on the south coast of Kangaroo Island was undertaken, while today, residents of Cassini near Parndana have been told to take action as the bushfire threatened their 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 CFS warning said.

"The Playford Highway/West End Highway Ravine fire is not controlled.

"This scrub fire is burning in a South Easterly direction towards Pioneer Bend Road and Welsch Track."

More to come..

Remarkable tales of survival

Meanwhile there continue to be tales of remarkable survival and brave battle, particularly at Stokes Bay and Snug Cove where locals and farm fire units have spent weeks fighting the fire.

Holed up near Stokes Bay is RoAnna Horbelt and her partner, defending their property with an antique fire engine "Betty".

They now have been joined by dozens of kangaroos and wallabies searching out any remaining pasture and safety from the fire.

She pasted on Facebook, "With fires on every side, I am now realising what it actually means to be an animal sanctuary. Have NEVER seen so many super stressed kangas desperate for water and food.

"Simply nowhere to go but here. All the surrounding bush lands are on fire or toast. And when the sun sets the wallabies take over. So many wallies!! Just nuts!

"And when the red smokey sun finally does set, all you see are the massive glows of flames surrounding you. And the winds howl.

"But my joeys are snoring...and I too can no longer stay alert. But will have that alarm going every hour just to make sure we all remain safe. That said, I'm feeling very positive still!

"Thanks for all your love. Days are just sooooooo busy with the here and now situations that I have little time to post."

RELATED READING:Preemptive evacuation of Vivonne Bay on KI

The KI Wildlife Park near to Parndana is the main point for wildlife care, but it too could come under renewed fire attack today.

There is some hope for the wildlife out west, as local John Hodgson reported after visiting his block on Church Road at Karatta.

"Well, Lois and I went out to Church Rd for the second day. The fires are still burning on the west end, characterised by flareups from stumps to wind changes.

"We now know that nine or 10 properties have been lost on Church Road, with only two remaining. What went through was a firestorm,nothing could stand in its way, the larger animals never stood a chance, there is hope that the smaller mammals and reptiles hid away.

"We went out today to take hay for the wildlife and were somewhat relieved to see a mature male eastern grey roo, about 10 Tamar wallabies as well as a few birds including Glossy Black Cockatoos a small family of Yellow tail Black Cockatoos and "bonk" frogs still in the creek."

More than $2m has now flowed into the Island's official relief fund and also wildlife fund.

How to donate on GoFundMe:

Kangaroo Island Mayoral relief fund

Help save Kangaroo Islands Koalas and wildlife

Biosecurity SA advises any landholders with an agricultural or animal services emergency to contact their hotline on 1800 255 556.

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

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The story PM visits KI as fire threat continues first appeared on The Islander.

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