The South Australian Government has revealed more than 50 homes have been destroyed in the Kangaroo Island bushfires.
- Bushfires flared on Kangaroo Island last Friday, after starting in mid December
- Dozens of homes have been destroyed, along with other buildings
- The CFS is warning of high fire danger on Thursday
Over the past three days, more than 230 properties have been assessed, with 56 homes destroyed, major damage to 10 buildings, minor damage to 18 buildings and 236 outbuildings damaged.
Emergency Services Minister Corey Wingard said 167 homes within the bushfire area survived the blaze.
Two people — pilot Dick Lang and his son, Clayton Lang, a surgeon — died in the fire.
“We do very much mourn the people that did pass but given the complexity of this fire, the intensity of this fire and the other circumstances this could have been a heck of a lot worse,” Mr Wingard said.
About 160,000 hectares of land was burnt in the Ravine fire.
Firefighters are now turning their attention to Thursday, when high temperatures and a late wind change are expected.
More than 130 firefighters are still on the ground backburning and creating firebreaks in preparation.
Country Fire Service (CFS) chief officer Mark Jones said areas of concern included Snug Cove, an area between Middle River and Cape Dutton, around Stokes Bay and Bark Hut and north of Vivonne Bay.
He said more firefighters would be sent to the island ahead of Thursday’s high fire danger.
“This is still a large fire which is not controlled,” Mr Jones said.
“I visited the island this morning and witnessed many fires that are still burning there.
“I also, however, met lots of people who are badly affected by the fire.
“The spirit of the people is magnificent.”
He said it had been difficult to build control lines in some areas because of the difficult terrain.
“Even the best containment can be overwhelmed in the worst conditions,” he said.
Mayor Michael Pengilly said the bushfires would not be completely out until “substantial” rain arrived.
“The work that’s going in today, yesterday [and] tomorrow is absolutely critical and we just have to hope that we’ve done enough to keep it quiet on Thursday,” he said.
Islander Lilly Buick told the ABC earlier this week she lost her newly-renovated house and month-old shearing shed.
Her family’s stock losses could run into the thousands.
“Most of our sheep have died, or we’re disposing of them,” she said.
“It’s quite emotional just picturing what they’ve gone through, it’s been a bit of a rough ride but we’re still alive.”
Governor-General visits Kangaroo Island
Governor-General David Hurley met with bushfire victims on Kangaroo Island this morning as they came to terms with the devastation of the fires.
He said safeguarding mental health would be a big issue for those affected by the fires.
“One of the big issues raised today was mental health, and the impact this will have both on those directly affected and the broader community,” he said.
“I think that’s a big message around the country for people that have been affected — to put your hand up if you need help.”
He also encouraged people from the mainland to make an extra effort to visit the island, which relies heavily on tourism.
“While the primary industry income will be down, tourism can help resurrect, so there’s still half an island that is capable of sustaining a tourist industry,” he said.