Nearly 90 homes affected by fire | rolling coverage

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2.30pm: Nearly 90 homes have been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable as a result of the Pinery fire, it was announced today.

Impact Teams, who have finalised an assessment of the fire ground, have determined that:

  • 87 homes were completely destroyed or significantly damaged and are uninhabitable at this time
  • 388 farm sheds/outbuildings have been lost
  • 93 pieces of farm machinery were destroyed
  • 98 vehicles were destroyed

Details of the property loss were detailed at a media conference this afternoon which was addressed by the Premier Jay Weatherill, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens and CFS Chief Officer Greg Nettleton.

The fire, which began about midday on Wednesday, is now 100 per cent contained, however about 200 fire fighters remain on the ground to quell any flare ups, mop up and continue to blacken the remaining fire ground – a phase in the operation which is expected to take four to seven days.

All the roads within the Pinery fire ground are now open, however the public are asked to be mindful that emergency personnel are still working in the area and to take care on the roads. Obey reduced speed limit signs and give way to emergency vehicles.

Also detailed today:

  • The number of people who have died as a result of the fire remains at two.
  • There are no people unaccounted for.
  • Five people remain in a critical condition in hospital with serious burns.
  • 90 people have sought assistance for injuries which have ranged from very minor to critical.
  • PIRSA has assessed more than 270 properties in the fire ground and are helping farmers and livestock owners.
  • More than 50,000 poultry were destroyed in the fire.
  • 950 sheep have had to be destroyed (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 was held in Mallala this morning and another 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.
  • While it is early in the investigations, this fire does not appear to be the work of an arsonist.
  • Teams of arborists will be working across the fire ground to assess trees and safety fell any that pose a danger.
  • A bridge assessment team will be in the area soon to check on infrastructure.
  • The State Emergency Relief Fund remains open and those who wish to make a donation that will go to those impacted by the fires should visit www.sa.gov.au where they can find details on how to donate.
  • The Bushfire Recovery Hotline can be reached on 1800 302 787.

1.35pm: The Pinery fire has now been contained. 

However, the community is reminded there is still some active fire well within the 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.

CFS crews, supported by crews from Victoria's CFA, will continue to monitor the fire day and night during 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 kph when passing emergency vehicles with flashing lights operating.

CFS thanked the hundreds of volunteers for their continued effort since the fire started on Wednesday.

The support from MFS, SES, DEWNR, PIRSA , DCSI and other agencies throughout this incident is sincerely acknowledged. 

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

Alternatively the community affected are encouraged to call the Bushfire Recovery Hotline of 1800 302 787 if they have any questions or concerns. 

11.33am: Support continues to roll in for fire victims via our #sticktogetherSA campaign.

11.05am: Areas within the perimeter of the Pinery fire continue to burn and are being attended to by CFS, MFS and Victorian resources.

Residents are advised that flare ups as well as burning structures such as hay stacks and rural buildings will continue to burn, producing embers and large amounts of smoke.

While a number of roads are opened to local traffic, road users need to maintain awareness of the risk of falling trees and smoke over road ways.

There are also a number of emergency service, support agency and utility vehicles that are moving throughout the area.

For further information on road closures please visit the SA Police web site.

9.22am: The team at The Land newspaper in NSW have joined our #sticktogetherSA campaign. Plenty of thoughts going to farmers affected by the Pinery fire.

8.36am: The Adelaide Plains Equine Clinic has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds which will pay for the treatment of horses injured in the Pinery fire.

“We have about 10 horses here at the clinic some with life-threatening burns and injuries sustained from the Pinery Fire. This figure is expected to rise over the next few days with Post-fire illnesses. This fire was devastating. Our clients and even our personal staff lost their houses and horses.

“Our vet Dr Elizabeth Herbert and staff spent 5 hours going behind the fire lines on the night of the fire 25/11/15 to assist some of our clients and staff to help with these horses. To call this a war zone is an understatement.”

7.20am: There will be community meetings held today.

The first is at 10am at Mallala Institute, Dublin Rd.

At 4pm, a meeting will be held at Kapunda Institute Memorial Hall, Hill St.

7.15am: The roads within the Pinery fire ground are now open.  Emergency crews have been working in the region with fire-fighting, removal of fallen trees and clearing roads to allow people to return to the area as quickly as possible.

SA Power Networks are acting to repair and restore power to the area.  There are a number of power lines that have also been brought down by the fire. All power lines MUST be treated as live.

Friday, 7am: As of 5.30am this morning, CFS report 82,600ha burnt with a 265km perimeter. The fire is 75 per cent contained.

Two people are deceased and 19 injuries have been reported. Over 35 homes have been lost and 166 sheds.

A "specific risk" bushfire message is in place and CFS urges community to continue to monitor these messages.

The fire has been "contained" with no increase in fire area since the last 24 hours.

The fire is not expected to increase in size, under current weather conditions, and reports from the aircraft are that there is no active fire around the perimeter.

Numerous hay bales, stacks and sheds are still burning, causing most of the smoke and are a hazard to drivers.

There are still pockets of scrub flaring up within the fire ground that may threaten assets and make travel in the area unsafe.

Fifteen Rapid Damage assessment teams from MFS, SAPOL and SES are undertaking damage assessments, and there are some tree hazards, as they are burning and may fall.

The CFS’ current strategy is to control the fire within the existing perimeter to reduce the impact on property and risk to life.

Fire suppression is planned for the next four days and will attack any outbreaks, and all agencies are working to remove dangerous trees and power lines to enable roads to be opened.

Weather: Expected wind to continue from the South West, pushing on the North Eastern edge of the fireground. There will be slightly increased winds and temperatures on Sunday and Monday but fire bans are not anticipated.

Crew: there are 380 personnel, 70 appliances and 25 strike teams on the ground from Victoria (CFA and DLP) and South Australia (MFS and CFS).

Safety for Emergency Services workers: Emergency services workers have expressed concern for their safety when working on road sides.  Road users are reminded that the speed limit when passing emergency vehicles with flashing lights operating is 25km/hr.

9.32pm: The latest road closure map via SAPOL

8.20pm: Mallala farmer and former SA Farmers’ Federation president John Lush recounts the fight to save his home, and the loss of his son’s house plus much of the family’s farm machinery and 1000ha of unharvested crops.

8.05pm: The following schools and preschools will be closed on Friday, November 27:

  • Freeling Primary School
  • Hamley Bridge Kindergarten
  • Hamley Bridge Primary School
  • Kapunda High School
  • Kapunda Kindergarten
  • Riverton Primary School
  • Wasleys Primary School and Playcentre
  • Owen Primary School

All other schools will remain open as normal.

The following bus routes have also been cancelled:

  • Balaklava Primary School
  • Dublin
  • Mallalla
  • Owen
  • Pr. Parham/Windsor
  • Freeling Primary School
  • Templers/Freeling North
  • Gawler High School
  • Kangaroo Flat
  • Hamley Bridge Primary School
  • Stockport / Barraba
  • Kapunda High School
  • Bethel
  • Daveyston/Greenrock
  • Freeling Express 1
  • Freeling Express 2
  • Hamilton/Allendale North
  • Roseworthy 

More details: http://crisis.sa.edu.au/

8pm: SAPOL advises Horrocks Highway is now providing access for local residents.

6.40pm: The Pinery fire remains a going fire with sporadic fire activity across the entire fire ground.

Fire activity remains to the north and to the east of Hamley Bridge and its surrounding areas.

The CFS has been attending to flare ups on the northern perimeter, south of Owen and also around the town of Stockport.

Many of the roads in the Pinery fire-ground have been reopened to local residents.

Roads marked in AMBER on the map are only open to land owners, local residents, service providers and accredited media.

Other members of the public will not be permitted access to the fire-ground.  They are asked to stay away from the area.

Roads marked in RED remain closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles.

Residents returning to the area are reminded that emergency services are active and to take care on the roads when travelling through the region.  Obey reduced speed limit signs and give way to emergency vehicles. 

Trees on the fire ground which have been burnt or partially burnt may be unstable and could fall or drop their limbs at any time, posing a threat to your safety.

There are a number of power lines that have also been brought down by the fire. All power lines MUST be treated as live.

There may be cattle, sheep and other stock and animals on the roads because of the loss of many kilometres of fencing.

Smoke is significantly reducing visibility for anyone driving in the area.

Police thank you in advance for your compliance to these conditions.

The following roads are AMBER and restricted to service providers, accredited media and residents only:

  • Thiele Highway between Willaston and Kapunda;
  • Hamley Bridge Road;
  • Templers Road;
  • Willaston and Days Hill Road;
  • Owen Road;
  • Horrocks Highway between Roseworthy and Stockport Road;
  • Mallala Road to Owen Road;
  • Freeling to Daveyston;
  • Horrocks Highway from Stockport Road to Tarlee;
  • Tarlee to Giles Corner. 

The following Emergency Road Closures (RED) remain in place:

  • Tarlee to Kapunda;
  • Greenock to Thiele Highway.

The Sturt Highway is open to all traffic.

Click here for more details.

6.21pm: Some of the Herald staff had their own challenging experiences during the fire yesterday. Read their accounts here.

5.56pm:

5.17pm: More support flowing in for #sticktogetherSA, plenty of people across the country thinking of those affected by the Pinery fire.

4.32pm: South Australian MP for Sturt and Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science Christopher Pyne has joined our #sticktogetherSA campaign from Parliament House in Canberra.

4.27pm: Two-hundred fire fighters and 50 appliances are on the fire ground, and more than 300 people are expected to arrive from Victoria, with the SES setting up a base ground at Nuriootpa High School.

CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton says steady progress is being made on the fire ground, and they estimate about 60 per cent of the fire has been contained.

Police say preliminary investigations suggest the fire was not deliberately lit and started on the far western edge of the fire ground.

4.23pm: Several banks are offering various forms of support for customers and other fire victims.

3.42pm: The number of lives claimed by the Pinery fire remains at two, it was announced this afternoon.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill extended his condolences to the families of those killed – a 56-year-old woman from Hamley Bridge and a 69-year-old man from Pinery – on behalf of the government and wider community.

SA Federal MPs Andrew Southcott, Christopher Pyne, Jamie Briggs and Tony Pasin.

SA Federal MPs Andrew Southcott, Christopher Pyne, Jamie Briggs and Tony Pasin.

Providing an update of the situation alongside Country Fire Service Chief Officer Greg Nettleton and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, Mr Weatherill also noted the SA Ambulance Service had treated 30 people for various injuries, with 16 of those taken to local and metropolitan hospitals.

Five of those remain in a critical condition.

Mr Weatherill said the emergency is ongoing, with active fires still burning in the current perimeter and caution required.

"This morning I convened an Emergency Management Council and appointed Vince Monterola as the Recovery Coordinator," he said.

Gisborne SES volunteers headed to help #sticktogetherSA

Gisborne SES volunteers headed to help #sticktogetherSA

"Vince is a former CFS Chief Officer and is already working on the emergency response."

It is expected the fire, which started about midday yesterday, will continue to burn for several more days.

Interim figures are that 16 homes and 22 other significant buildings, along with dozens of vehicles and farming machinery, have been destroyed.

Crime scene investigators along with detectives from Major Crime have examined the area where the fire is known to have started – which is on the far western edge of the fire ground.

While a final cause has not yet been established, from initial investigations, it appears the fire was not deliberately lit.

In further developments it was announced:

  • About 200 Country Fire Service fire fighters are on the ground using 50 appliances.
  • MFS continue to support the CFS with Strike Teams to help protect properties and tackle ongoing structural fires.
  • More than 300 personnel are expected from Victoria, with the SES setting up a base camp for them at Nuriootpa High School.
  • Those affected by the fires, or who have evacuated from their homes, should contact the Red Cross Register, Find, Reunite on 1800 727 077.
  • No people are currently reported as missing.
  • An emergency grant is available from the relief centres at the Gawler Sport and Recreation Centre, Balaklava Racecourse and Clare Showgrounds to assist those evacuated from their homes.
  • Emergency accommodation is also available via the relief centres, which have been accessed by more than 80 people so far.
  • The Bushfire Recovery Hotline (ph 1800 302 787) is being staffed 24/7.
  • PIRSA continue to evaluate stock and crops losses and help farmers with burned or injured livestock and can be contacted via the Stock Assessment Hotline on (08) 8207 7847.
  • For assistance with emergency fodder for livestock or to offer donations of fodder call Livestock SA on 8297 2299.
  • Anyone requiring advice and assistance with wildlife and pets should call 0477 055 233.
  • Volunteering SA/NT continue to lead the management, registration and referral of those wishing to help.
  • St Vincent de Paul has been appointed to manage any goods donated during this disaster and can be contacted through a donations phone hotline: (08) 8112 8777.
  • About 3000 homes remain without power and accessing some critical areas is still difficult.

It was also highlighted that DPTI are working closely with emergency services to clear roads to enable access, however the aim is for residents to be able to safety access their properties.

"It is important to emphasise that the priority remains to ensure access to property does not jeopardise people's safety," Mr Weatherill said.

The latest information can be found on the CFS website, South Australia Police website for emergency road closures: https://www.police.sa.gov.au/your-safety/road-safety/road-closures and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter or via the official Emergency Services broadcasting partner, ABC radio.

A community meeting has been held in Gawler and another is underway at Balaklava – providing locals with latest information

Mr Weatherill also announced the government today opened the State Emergency Relief Fund.

Those who wish to make a donation that will go to those impacted by the fires should visit www.sa.gov.au where they can find details on how to donate.

3.34pm: Updated fire map as at 2.30pm.

2.45pm: Kapunda’s monthly livestock market has been cancelled.

2.21pm: CFS advises the Pinery fire remains a going fire with sporadic fire activity across the entire fire-ground. 

Fire activity remains to the north and to the east of Hamley Bridge and surrounding areas. 

The following road closures are currently in place:

  • Horrocks Highway closed between Willaston and Days Hill Road;
  • Thiele Highway closed between Willaston and Kapunda;
  • Hamley Bridge Road is closed;
  • Templers Road is closed;
  • Owen Road is closed.
  • The Sturt Highway remains open.

2.05pm: A community meeting will be held at Balaklava Racecourse at 3pm.

1.24pm: At the Herald, we know the value of community and sticking together through tough times. We’ve already seen multiple examples of this since the Pinery bushfire started yesterday. But it can be frustrating when you’re not in a position to help.

For those of you who want to do something, but can’t physically help out, we’re calling for you to post your photos of either yourself, your friends/colleagues/family, pets, or even photos from the fire ground with #sticktogetherSA.

Post these on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or email to carla.wiese-smith@fairfaxmedia.com.au, to show your support for those affected by the fires.

1pm: 

If you or someone you know needs help, we've put together a list of services and places to go.

Part 2

12.34pm: Don’t forget the community meeting being held in Gawler at 1pm.

12.32pm: Want to help? You can donate to the SA Pinery Fire Appeal.

12.20pm: The latest Pinery fire map and road closures.

11.53am: All we can say is… thank you.

11.50am: 

11.47am: For the latest Pinery fire recovery information, please visit http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/emergencies-and-safety/pinery-fire

11.45am: 

Part 2: State Liberal MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan

11.25am: For any issues relating to livestock, contact PIRSA for help and information.

11.19am: The Pinery fire map as at 10.30am today.

11.16am: The Victorian firies are on their way!

11.04am: A Community Meeting is being held at the Gawler Recreation Centre, Nixon Terrace, Gawler, at 1pm today.

The Pinery fire has not increased in size overnight.

With a burn area of 85,700ha and a fire perimeter of 210km the Pinery fire received minimal rain overnight, however today will see cooler conditions with moderate to fresh SW to S winds (25-35km/hr) during the day and easing towards evening.

The fire is still burning in an uncontrolled manner and is by no means a safe area to be in.

There are a number of unburnt pockets that continued to flare up overnight and will continue to threaten assets.

At the time of writing, CFS said two people are confirmed dead, 16 dwellings and 22 outbuildings are confirmed destroyed with many more unconfirmed reports of structures, vehicles and stock losses.  

Assessment of losses of assets and livestock is ongoing and being conducted by SA MFS and SA SES Rapid Damage Assessment Teams.

CFS currently has over 200 fire fighters on the ground with around 40 fire fighting appliances.

Four air attack aircraft and two observation planes have been assigned to the Pinery fire for today to maintain fire suppression assistance to ground crews and fire ground intelligence.  

The assistance of 350 CFA and DEWLP personnel  from Victoria is expected to arrive later in the day.

Much of this assistance will be directed towards ensuring the fire ground is mopped up and safe in the days to come.

CFS said the priority today will be to continue fire-fighting efforts to reduce any further losses and ensure as much of this vast fire edge can be blacked out.

CFS is also working with support agencies to begin road clearances, restoration of power utilities and maintenance of critical infrastructure as soon as is safe and possible.

Relief Centres are located at Gawler Recreation Centre, Balaklava Racing Club and Clare Show Grounds opposite the Caravan Park.

Donations can be arranged through http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/en/News-and-Media/Latest-News/SA-Bushfire-Update/ or phone 137 258.

Current Bushfire Watch and Act Warning: http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/home/criimson/watch_and_act_message_pinery_issued_26_nov_09320000161.jsp

10.35am: There have been reports that phone lines are still out in Greenock.

On Facebook, Lachlan Gierke said Telstra 3G data seemed to be out in Tanunda; some of the Herald staff have had the same issues in the office.

Other comments include:

  • Nicole Howlett: We are in Nuriootpa and Optus is out
  • Kirsten James: Telstra mobile 4g in Greenock/nain is working.
  • Sharyn Guy: I'm in Nuri and Optus keeps cutting in and out, it was out fully last night for quite sometime

9.32am: The Pinery fire remains a going fire with sporadic fire activity across the entire fire-ground.

Fire activity remains around many townships including Owen, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee, Freeling, Wasleys, Kapunda, Greenock and surrounding areas.

A significant volume of smoke can be expected around the fire-ground and may have an impact on visibility in surrounding areas and there remains the potential for structures to be impacted due to ongoing ember attack across the whole of the area impacted by fire.

9am: Dozens of homes, thousands of livestock and two lives have been lost in South Australia's fires, as a few residents start returning to their destroyed properties. Video courtesy: ABC News.

The Department for Education and Child Development overnight has been advised of the following closures:

  • Hamley Bridge Primary School
  • Hamley Bridge Kindergarten
  • Wasleys Primary School
  • Kapunda Kindergarten
  • Riverton Kindergarten

The following schools will open today but will not be running a full service:

  • Kapunda High School
  • Kapunda Primary School
  • Tarlee Primary School

For more details, click here

THURSDAY 7.30am: Two people are dead, 13 hospitalised and at least three are missing as a result of the Pinery fire, it was announced this morning.

 Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed a 69-year-old man from Pinery and a 56-year-old Hamley Bridge woman had died in the blaze, which began on Wednesday.

Two people killed in an out-of-control bushfire north of Adelaide

Two people have been confirmed killed, with fears held for a third, in a bushfire burning out of control north of Adelaide.

The major blaze has left 13 people in hospital, including one who has burns to more than 80 per cent of their body.

The blaze roared across more than 85,000 hectares of cropping land on Wednesday, threatening a string of towns.

Other people, including firefighters, have been injured and numerous buildings destroyed.

The blaze remained uncontrolled into the night, with more than 300 firefighters on the ground and reinforcements on their way from interstate.

One farmer may have saved his mate's life by urging him to leave as a deadly bushfire approached his house.

Freeling farmer Tom Shanahan said the scale of devastation caused by the fire was "unbelievable".

He said he arrived at his friend's house and found him inside with the air conditioning on.

"He was actually having a sleep and I said 'mate, you better get in the ute and get the hell out of here'," Mr Shanahan told 891 ABC Adelaide.

"He rang me later, he was at Kapunda, and thanked me - his house has burnt to the ground."

Others took more convincing to leave their animals and evacuate to safety, Mr Shanahan said.

"[We] had to use some fairly terse words to get them into gear and get them the hell out of there.

"Otherwise they wouldn't have survived."

Wasleys Bowling Club secretary Brad McDougall told the ABC the clubhouse had been destroyed, while the town's post office and general store have also been extensively damaged.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed the deaths on Wednesday and said it was the "worst of news".

The first involved a body found in a paddock at Pinery, near where the blaze started - the second was a person found dead in a car near Hamley Bridge.

The third, unconfirmed, death involved a person who crashed into a tree.

"This has been a devastating few hours for large parts of the state and unfortunately there is some time to go until we have fire fronts under control," Mr Weatherill said.

On Thursday, the Country Fire Service said the blaze continued to burn along a 40 kilometre front and had a perimeter of about 211 kilometre.

The next six to 12 hours would be critical, authorities said.

CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton said some of that perimeter would be easy to contain and render safe, but other areas would take time to bring under control.

Yet he said fire crews faced a number of days of hard work before the emergency was over.

A more detailed assessment of property and stock losses is expected to take place on Thursday.

That included a large piggery near Wasleys and a water storage tank used to supply Mallala.

"This is a particularly nasty fire. It will run right through the night and into tomorrow," Mr Nettleton said. "It's going to be a long haul for many of our crews."

Bureau of Meteorology acting regional director John Nairn said weather conditions on Wednesday would have created unusual and uncontrollable flare-ups.

"It was very ugly conditions for the firefighters," he said.

Wind gusts of about 80km/h buffeted the fire zone soon after the blaze was sparked ahead of a southwesterly change that swept through the area, pushing the blaze to the northeast.

Many roads were closed with power cut to about 20,000 properties at one stage.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

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