Two dead, over 85,000ha burnt in Pinery blaze

We will continue to update this story with road closures, emergency information and other details as they come to hand.

From Williamstown looking towards Lyndoch at about 3pm yesterday. Photo: 
‎Lorraine Wegener.

From Williamstown looking towards Lyndoch at about 3pm yesterday. Photo: ‎Lorraine Wegener.

UPDATE:

7.49am:

School closures: Schools closed today include Hamley Bridge Primary School, Wasleys Primary School, Kapunda Kindergarten and Riverton Kindergarten.

Kapunda High School, Kapunda Primary School and Tarlee Primary School will remain open but not be running at full service. More details: www.crisis.sa.edu.au

7.23am:

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

Speaking to media alongside Acting Commissioner of Police Linda Williams and Country Fire Service Chief Officer Greg Nettleton, the SA Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed that a 69-year-old man from Pinery and a 56-year-old Hamley Bridge woman had died in the blaze, which began yesterday.

At least 13 people are in hospital he said, with five of those either critical or serious.

At least one of those has suffered burns to 80 per cent of their body.

An early estimate is that 16 homes have been destroyed, along with a number of outbuildings and an unknown number of vehicles and machinery.

In addition a significant amount of stock and crops have been lost including a piggery with an estimated 2000 sows.

Meanwhile the fire, which has already burnt 85,000ha of grass, cropping land and scrub, is still not contained and has a 200km fire front, Mr Nettleton advised.

"This fire is not contained yet, but it has not increased in size," he said.

A meeting of the State Emergency Committee will take place later today, with a further update to be provided to the community at that time.

Mr Weatherill urged the community to stay informed regarding the fire.

"Obviously we're thinking of the volunteers and professional firefighters, and those who are supporting them," he said.

"We're doing everything we can to support them.

"I urge people to stay informed regarding this fire," he said, while highlighting that such a devastating fire so early in the season was a reminder to the whole community to update their bushfire action plans.

In further developments it was announced:

  • The cause of the Pinery fire, which started about midday yesterday on the far western edge of the fire ground, remains unknown but is under investigation.
  • Areas of concern today are focused on the eastern flank of the fire, east of the Horrocks Highway.
  • About 70 fire fighting appliances have been deployed and more than 400 fire fighters have been involved.
  • There are numerous structures, haysheds, trees and vehicles still burning which will potentially cause problems once weather conditions begin to warm up again today.
  • Impact Teams consisting of CFS, MFS, Police and SES will be combing every area of accessible ground for a full assessment of damage.
  • Stock owners needing urgent assistance to locate, inspect and assess burnt livestock can call PIRSA's Stock Assessment Hotline on (08) 8207 7847.
  • Two base camps being established to support 200 personnel due to arrive from Victoria today with 50 additional fight fighting appliances.
  • Relief centres are in place at the Gawler Sport and Recreation Centre, the Balaklava Racecourse and the Clare Showgrounds.
  • Details on assistance can also be gained through the Bushfire Recovery Hotline ph 1800 302 787.
  • Support and donations are being managed through St Vincent de Paul while Volunteering SA/NT will lead the management, registration and referral of those wishing to help.
  • Four schools or kindergartens are closed today - Hamley Bridge Primary School, Wasleys Primary School, Kapunda Kindergarten and Riverton Kindergarten.
  • More information on other school closures will be released via the Department of Education.
  • At least 6,000 homes remain without power and accessing some critical areas is still difficult.
  • Hospitals in the area including Riverton, Kapunda and Eudunda remain open.

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.

6.09am:

CFS advises the Pinery Fire in the State's Mid North 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.

See below map for updated road closures.

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.

The above map shows the road status for roads within the area affected by the Pinery Fires.

The fire has affected an area that is bounded approximately by Roseworthy, Kapunda, Mallala, Owen and Riverton. 

Within this area a number of roads have been subsequently closed.  

Some of the major roads affected include the Mallala to Balaklava Road, the Wasleys to Hamley Bridge Road, the Horrocks Highway, and the Thiele Highway.

Efforts will be made to open these roads to the public as soon as it is safe to do so. 

The map will be updated periodically with closed roads shown in red, open roads in green and roads that are being worked on shown in yellow. 

CFS advises 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.

Members of the public are asked to remain vigilant for the potential for further damage to property and the fire remains uncontrolled.

Trees affected by fire are a considerable risk and people are to remain clear at all times. If members of the public are at immediate risk of being impacted by fire they are to ring 000 and request assistance. 

Check and follow your Bushfire Survival Plan.

If your plan is to leave or you are not prepared, leave now.

Only leave if the path is clear to a safe place.

Well prepared and actively defended homes can offer safety.

You should not enter this area as the roads may not be safe.

Stay tuned to your local radio station on a battery-powered radio for updates.

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.

Specific information on the Pinery fire can be found at http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/warnings_and_incidents/pinery_fire_information.jsp

Thursday 5.30am:

The Pinery Fire in the State's Mid North 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.

Members of the public are asked to remain vigilant for the potential for further damage to property and the fire remains uncontrolled.

11.47pm: 

This information is only valid through to 1.30am…

WATCH AND ACT: The Pinery Fire in the State's Mid North remains a going fire with sporadic fire activity across the entire fire-ground.

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

Members of the public are asked to remain vigilant for the potential for further damage to property and the fire remains uncontrolled at this time with few control lines being in place.

Trees affected by fire are a considerable risk and people are to remain clear at all times.

If members of the public are at immediate risk to being impacted by fire they are to ring 000 and request assistance.

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.

10.30pm: 

Water: There is currently limited water supply in the Lower North due to a power outage caused by the Pinery fire.

An SA Water storage tank in the Lower North region has received fire damage today.

The tank services towns in the area including Mallala, Dublin, Redbanks, Parham and Lower Light.

This is the main drinking water source servicing this region.

SA Water has been in discussions with SA Health in relation to water quality. While customers may notice an odour and taste, the water is safe to drink.

SA Water are continually monitoring the situation, including water quality and supply.

9.51pm:

The following road closures are currently in place:

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

For information on Emergency Road closures, click here

9.45pm:

This map by @incident_alert on Twitter shows the fire area and hot spots based on NASA Earth imaging.

9.30pm: 

This information is only valid through to 11.25pm…

WATCH AND ACT: The Pinery Fire in the State's Mid North remains a going fire with sporadic fire activity across the entire fire-ground. The main fire activity is around the Kapunda township and there remains the potential for structures to be impacted due to ongoing ember attack across the whole of the area impacted by fire.

Members of the public are asked to remain vigilant for the potential for further damage to property and the fire remains uncontrolled at this time with few control lines being in place. Trees affected by fire are a considerable risk and people are to remain clear at all times.

If members of the public are at immediate risk to being impacted by fire they are to ring 000 and request assistance.

  • Check and follow your Bushfire Survival Plan. If your plan is to leave or you are not prepared, leave now.
  • Only leave if the path is clear to a safe place.
  • Well prepared and actively defended homes can offer safety.
  • You should not enter this area as the roads may not be safe.

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.

8.57pm:

At a press conference held at SAPOL headquarters this evening, Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed two deaths as a result of today's South Australian fires, with an unconfirmed report of a third fatality.

Details of today's fires, including the extensive blaze at Pinery, were tonight detailed by the Premier, Acting Police Commissioner Linda Williams and CFS Chief Officer Greg Nettleton.

The Premier said two deaths have been confirmed – with a body found in a paddock near Pinery and a body also found in a car near Hamley Bridge.

There is also an unconfirmed report of a fatality near Freeling after a car hit a tree, and at least three people helping to put out the fires have been taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital suffering severe burns.

"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.

Other information released tonight was that:

  • The Pinery fire started around midday and quickly stretched over a 15km fire front and affected many towns including Pinery, Mallala, Kapunda, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee and northern parts of Nuriootpa.
  • This fire, which is still not yet contained, moved very quickly and travelled more than 50km in four hours.
  • There is no known cause for this fire as yet, however it will be thoroughly investigated.
  • Currently there are about 70 fire fighting appliances on the ground, along with 340 volunteer firefighters who are battling an active front about 40km long between Nuriootpa and Kapunda.
  • The next 6-12 hours will be critical and there are many road closures in place.
  • An unknown number of homes and sheds have been lost, along with crop and live stock losses.
  • Additional fire fighting strike teams are expected from Victoria in the morning.
  • Relief centres are already in place at the Gawler Sport and Recreation Centre and the Balaklava Racecourse.
  • A bushfire recovery hotline has been established - phone 1800 302 787
  • One school was evacuated today and at this stage, many schools will potentially be closed tomorrow.

Information on school closures will be released via the Department of Education, and amplified via emergency services as it comes to hand.

SA Power Networks has reported power outages impacting about 15,000 people.

"For now our priority is the safety of everyone and getting the fire front under control," Mr Weatherill said.

"If conditions allow in the next few hours we will attempt to actively place control lines in front of the fire front.

"Depending on conditions, and if they are favourable, we know there will be at least 3-4 days of work ahead of us.

"Our thoughts turn to those people affected and those volunteers working through the night to protect us.

"I urge you all to stay informed – for the latest information watch the CFS website, South Australia Police website for emergency road closures and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter or tune in to our Emergency Services broadcasting partner the ABC for the latest information."

The next update will be at 6.30am tomorrow morning. Stay with our rolling story for latest updates through the night and tomorrow.

8.23pm:

The Pinery fire has so far burnt 85,700 hectares and a total of about 1000 personnel are involved in the operation. Extent of the fire can be seen in the Pinery fire situation map below.

8.11pm:

BREAKING: At a press conference at SAPOL headquarters, Premier Jay Weatherill confirms two people have died in Pinery fire.

There are unconfirmed reports of a third death.

Many state schools will likely be closed tomorrow in the wake of the bushfire.

7.45pm: 

Register Find Reunite - Pinery Fire

If you are affected by the Pinery Bushfire or are concerned about someone who may be, we encourage you to visit https://register.redcross.org.au

At this site you can Register to let people know you are safe.

You can also use Find to look for people you know may be affected by the emergency.

7.38pm: 

This Bushfire Emergency Warning Message is in place for the following area(s) Marrabel, Eudunda and Dutton.

The PINERY fire 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 following Emergency Road Closures are in place:

Traeger Road, between Mallala and Balaklava, is closed to all traffic.  The fire has crossed this road.

Two Wells Road to Mallala Road, closed for northbound.

Redbanks Road to Mallala Road, closed for northbound.

Templars Road to Wasleys Road, closed for Main North Road to Wasleys.

Main North Road is closed between Gawler and Tarlee.

Sturt Highway closed from Gawler to Murray Street, Tanunda

Sturt Highway closed at Blanchetown for westbound traffic. Detours via Hunter Highway to Swan Reach.

Sturt Highway between Willaston and Nurioopta.

Horrocks Highway is closed north of Templers.

Thiele Highway between Gawler and Kapunda.

Daveyston to Freeling Road is closed.

Kapunda to Hamilton Road is closed.

For information on Emergency Road closures, click here

7.03pm: A person has been flown to hospital with serious burns, and houses and vehicles have been lost in a major bushfire burning in a wide region about 60 kilometres north of Adelaide.

Crews are preparing for a dangerous evening with the fire expected to move across areas of the Barossa Valley.

6.16pm: This Bushfire Emergency Warning Message is in place for the following area(s) Marrabel, Eudunda and Dutton.

The PINERY fire 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 following Emergency Road Closures are in place:

Traeger Road, between Mallala and Balaklava, is closed to all traffic.  The fire has crossed this road.

Two Wells Road to Mallala Road, closed for northbound.

Redbanks Road to Mallala Road, closed for northbound.

Templars Road to Wasleys Road, closed for Main North Road to Wasleys.

Main North Road is closed between Gawler and Tarlee.

Sturt Highway closed from Gawler to Murray Street, Tanunda

Sturt Highway closed at Blanchetown for westbound traffic. Detours via Hunter Highway to Swan Reach.

Horrocks Highway is closed north of Templers.

Traffic restrictions also exist on the Thiele Highway.

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4.30pm: CFS advises that an extremely dangerous bushfire is burning out of control at mid north region near Kapunda.

This Bushfire Emergency Warning Message is in place for the following area(s) Riverton, Marrabel, Eudunda and Dutton as well as Pinery, Owen, Hamley Bridge, Freeling, Greenock, Kapunda, Nuriootpa

The PINERY fire is travelling in a North Easterly direction towards Riverton, Marrabel and Eudunda. The weather conditions are very unpredictable.

If you are in this area you are in danger. Act immediately. Check and follow your Bushfire Survival Plan. Conditions at this fire may get worse very quickly.

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

If the building catches fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.

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

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.

3.30pm: 

CFS advises that an extremely dangerous bushfire is burning out of control at Roseworthy in the mid north region.

This Bushfire Emergency Warning Message is in place for the following area(s) Pinery, Owen, Hamley Bridge, Freeling, Greenock, Kapunda, Tanunda and Tarlee , Kapunda, Greenock and Nuriootpa.

The following Emergency Road Closures are in place:

Traeger Road, between Mallala and Balaklava, is closed to all traffic.  The fire has crossed this road.

Two Wells Road to Mallala Road, closed for northbound.

Redbanks Road to Mallala Road, closed for northbound.

Templars Road to Wasleys Road, closed for Main North Road to Wasleys.

Main North Road is closed between Gawler and Tarlee.

Sturt Highway closed from Gawler to Murray Street, Tanunda

The fire is moving fast and may affect other roads in the area, Horrocks Highway and Thiele Highway.  Motorists are urged to avoid the area.

The fire will be visible from the National Highway, but is burning away from the highway, and drivers are asked to take care in the area.

CFS advises that an extremely dangerous bushfire is burning out of control at Roseworthy in the mid north region.

This Bushfire Emergency Warning Message is in place for the following area(s) Pinery, Owen, Hamley Bridge, Freeling, Greenock, Kapunda, Tanunda and Tarlee , Kapunda, Greenock and Nuriootpa.

The PINERY fire is travelling in a North easterly direction towards Pinery, Owen, Hamley Bridge, Freeling, Tarlee, Kapunda, Greenock and Nuriootpa. There is a risk to lives and property.

If you are in this area you are in danger. Act immediately. Follow your Bushfire Survival Plan.

Do not leave or enter this area in a vehicle or on foot, it is too late and the roads will not be safe.

Take shelter in a building and actively defend it. Shelter before the fire arrives as radiant heat can kill you well before the flames reach you.

If the building catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.

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

Stay tuned to your local radio station on a battery-powered radio for updates.

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.

2.33pm: The CFS have issued the following Emergency Warning for a bushfire burning under Catastrophic Weather Conditions at Pinery, burning out of control in the Mid North region, north of Gawler near Roseworthy to Wasleys Road.

Traeger Road, between Mallala and Balaklava, is closed to all traffic.  The fire has crossed this road.

Emergency road closures are in place.

The fire will be visible from the National Highway, but is burning away from the highway, and drivers are asked to take care in the area.

For information on Emergency Road closures, click here.

CFS advises that an extremely dangerous bushfire is burning out of control at mid north region, north of Gawler near Roseworthy to Wasleys Road.

This Bushfire Emergency Warning Message is in place for the following area(s) Wasleys, Roseworthy, Hewett and Gawler area.

The PINERY fire is travelling in a Southerly easterly direction towards Roseworthy. There is a risk to lives and property.

If you are in this area you are in danger. Act immediately. Follow your Bushfire Survival Plan.

Do not leave or enter this area in a vehicle or on foot, it is too late and the roads will not be safe.

Take shelter in a building and actively defend it. Shelter before the fire arrives as radiant heat can kill you well before the flames reach you.

If the building catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.

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

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.

Stay tuned to your local radio station on a battery-powered radio for updates.

1:06PM: The CFS have issued the following Emergency Warning for a bushfire burning under Catastrophic Weather Conditions at Pinery, between Mallala and Balaklava.  

The fire will be visible from the National Highway, but is burning away from the highway, and drivers are asked to take care in the area.

The CFS advises that an extremely dangerous bushfire is burning out of control at Pinery in the Grace Plains area in the Mid North near Tiller Road, Hallion Road , Nairn Road, Broster Road, Marshman Road and Collins Road.

This Bushfire Emergency Warning Message is in place for Mallala.

The Pinery fire is travelling in a South Easterly direction towards Mallala. There is a risk to lives and property.

If you are in this area you are in danger. Act immediately. Follow your Bushfire Survival Plan.

Do not leave or enter this area in a vehicle or on foot, it is too late and the roads will not be safe.

Take shelter in a building and actively defend it. Shelter before the fire arrives as radiant heat can kill you well before the flames reach you.

If the building catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.

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

Stay tuned to your local radio station on a battery-powered radio for updates.

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.