The South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) says it has taken the unprecedented step to call on police to help evacuate the Kangaroo Island town of Vivonne Bay ahead of deteriorating weather tomorrow.
- Hot and windy weather is expected for Kangaroo Island on Thursday
- SA Police will help with evacuating the town of Vivonne Bay this afternoon
- The CFS says the area has a high fuel load
CFS incident controller Ray Jackson said SA Police was helping with the evacuation, which will start this afternoon.
People are being asked to move to Kingscote or Penneshaw where camp sites are being set up.
The fires have so far burnt 170,000 hectares and claimed two lives.
Mr Jackson said the out-of-control bushfire towards the west of Parndana could break containment lines during worsening weather on Thursday and impact communities, including Vivonne Bay, which has a population of about 400.
He said Vivonne Bay had a particularly high fuel load compared to other areas near the active fire.
“We think if the fire does get up and running tomorrow and breaks control lines that we will be at a point where we need to get those people out,” Mr Jackson said.
“We’re better off to do that early.
“Our ability to protect them in that particular environment given the fuel loads that are there is extremely limited.”
He urged people north of Vivonne Bay in Parndana and Andamel to “remain vigilant” and to put their bushfire survival plans into action.
The fire danger rating for Kangaroo Island is severe for Thursday and a total fire ban is in place.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a top of 38 degrees Celsius in Parndana on Thursday, with winds of up to 35 kilometres per hour.
Tweet Stacey Vivonne Bay
SA Police Superintendent Mark Fairney said the pre-emptive evacuation was similar to another one done informally in Vivonne Bay last Friday, when only a “handful” of locals chose to stay.
He said police would not be anticipating “too much resistance”.
“The message we will be giving to people at Vivonne Bay is it is time now,” he said.
“We would stress very strongly that you move from your home, you go to a safer place at Penneshaw or Kingscote and there is some time to take some possessions.
“People need to be aware that it’s an active fire, it’s not under control and it’s currently about 12km to the west of Parndana.”
He said residents would be given advice not to return until 9:00am on Friday.
People would have time to take possessions, he said, but the advice would be that “it is time now” to leave.
Police are putting in roadblocks to prevent people driving to Vivonne Bay.