The South Eastern Times : January 6th 2015
NEWS 3 Bushfire disaster averted Hundreds of firefighters battle blaze in ‘horrendous’ conditions EWS 3 Bushfire disaster averted Hundreds of firefighters battle blaze in ‘horrendous’ conditions H H NEWS 3 Bu WS 3 Bushfire disaster averted Hundreds 3 Bushfire disaster averted Hundreds of firefighters battle blaze in ‘horrendous’ conditions H J.L. J.L. “FRED” firstname.lastname@example.org ROARING inferno in scrub and pine trees in catastrophic conditions threatened to wipe out Glencoe and reach as far as Mount Gambier on S 3 Bushfire disaster averted Hundreds of firefighters battle blaze in ‘horrendous’ conditions H J.L. “FRED” email@example.com ROARING inferno in scrub and pine trees in catastrophic conditions threatened to wipe out Glencoe and reach as far as Mount Gambier on The The effective firefighting efforts of a 250-strong ground contingent and seven water bombers halted the advance of the blaze, but it was not contained until late on Saturday afternoon. Wattle Range Country Fire Service group officer Mike Kemp said Mount Gambier and Glencoe were at risk on Friday afternoon after the fire leapt containment lines and some spot fires started in dense growth towards the Honans Scrub area. “Good work by some of our crews stopped those fires from spreading,” Mr Kemp said. “They used their training and expertise while also putting their lives on the line. “The conditions were horrendous.” Around-the-clock mopping up operations have continued since with firefighters continuing to patrol the 23km perimeter of the fire. Not only did firefighters have to cope with 40 degree heat and strong winds on Friday, the weather dealt them a thunderstorm which passed through the region on the following afternoon. Lightning was seen in the distance from the Tantanoola fire, but no damage was caused by strikes. In all, an area of 862 hectares was blackened, including 277 hectares of pines and up to 30 hectares of pasture. The official damage bill has not yet been calculated, but a community meeting at Glencoe on Saturday was told that an estimated $20m worth of pines was lost. The amount of pines burned equates to 1pc of the region’s plantations. Some fencing and hay bales were destroyed, but there was no other significant property damage reported and no livestock or other animals were lost. No injuries to firefighters or other support personnel were reported. A cause of the fire has yet to be established and police crime scene investigators are probing an ignition point in native vegetation near the “top” of the Mile Hill Road midway between Tantanoola and Glencoe, which occurred at around 2.20pm on Friday. VIDEO ONLINE: See our video of aerial footage of the fire aftermath by scanning the QR code with an enabled smartphone or tablet. Flames tear through pines EXTENSIVE blackened remains of plantation timber, scrub and farmland stretch over a large area of Tantanoola and Glencoe after the dramatic bushfire on Friday and Saturday. It was the news many did not want to hear on a day with temperatures forecast to exceed 40C when a serious and out of control bushfire engulfed the area. The contrast of green, fresh and vibrant forest make a startling contrast against the blackened and TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION: The Tantanoola fire ripped through scrub and forest on Friday afternoon as emergency service crews worked around the clock to contain the dangerous blaze. Picture: ALEX McGREGOR SA Ambulance Service personnel, St John Ambulance volunteers and State Emergency Service members. Community members also donated food. Long hours have been contributed in recent days by volunteers who manned the CFS Communications Centre in Millicent and the re-filling point for water bombers at the Millicent airport. Since Friday, there have been over 200 CFS volunteers and 50 ForestrySA firefighters on the fire ground together with a large number of private firefighting units and other government agencies. ON THE JOB: The water bombers at the Tantanoola fire on Friday were re-filled at the Millicent airport by Millicent Country Fire Service Brigade volunteers including Tyson Richards and John de Wit. Each tanker holds 2700 litres. It was thought that the blaze had been contained within the hour, but it broke containment lines and the strong winds sent it in an easterly direction towards Glencoe. Billowing smoke and flames were visible across much of the region as Mr Kemp described the fire as “roaring”. Given the seriousness of the situation, an incident management team was established in Mount Gambier to coordinate resources. An additional four water bombers were summoned from Victoria, bull- COONAWARRA VIGNERONS’ CUP THURSDAY 8 JANUARY 2015 ClassicBet Penola Racecourse General Admission $15 | Concession $10 Winning Post Marquee $110pp includes entry, gourmet lunch and drinks package For more information and bookings phone Jim May on 0412 995 789 t o a 662013 www.thesoutheasterntimes.com.au The South Eastern Times, Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 3 Picture: FRED SMITH dozers were called in from as far away as Hamilton and CFS crews travelled hundreds of kilometres from Meningie and the Mallee region. The Country Fire Authority of Victoria sent mapping and loss assessors to the fire scene. A staging point and rest area was established at the Tantanoola Oval and clubrooms of the Tantanoola Football Club from 5pm on Friday. Club members and Salvation Army volunteers provided food and refreshments and it was also the base for Adelaide-based SES and police officers also came to the region to provide assistance. While acknowledging the fine efforts of the frontline and support personnel, Mr Kemp said he was grateful for the backing of members of the wider community. “In times like this, they ask what they can do and then they jump right in,” he said. “I would like to remind community members that we still face a tough three months ahead as the soil moisture is so dry. “They should be cautious with their behaviour as you can’t just report a blaze and expect a fire truck to be at your front gate within minutes.” smouldering remains of millions of dollars worth of timber, as shown in images captured by The South Eastern Times on an aerial tour over the Tantanoola fire ground yesterday. From the air, it is clear the bushfire was dangerously close to Glencoe. A freak wind change, increase in wind speed and the threat of embers starting several spotfires could have re-written history on Friday afternoon. However, residents, emergency service crews, forestry fire crews and the region came together at a challenging time and overcame what was a potentially disastrous start to the new year. Although millions of dollars worth of damage was caused as a result of the inferno, no lives were lost and community leaders have praised the efforts of all involved to prevent a THERE’S N BEING I s r u s n d e e shuttle b f r o a m t c r k !
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