Two dead in Kangaroo Island fire

Two people have died in a bushfire which continues to burn uncontrolled on South Australia's Kangaroo Island.

A police forensic team is on its way to the scene, with the deaths initially thought linked to a burnt-out car found near Parndana.

There have been no other reports of people missing or other injuries but three fire crews endured burn-overs in their trucks.

A watch and act warning remains in place for the fire which has now destroyed about 100,000 hectares including large parts of the Flinders Chase National Park.

Premier Steven Marshall said the deaths were tragic news.

"Our hearts go out to the families of those people who have been affected," he said.

"It really does reiterate the very important message that people listen to the alerts. This a very dangerous situation on Kangaroo Island."

Significant property losses are expected from the fire with major damage to tourism and other infrastructure also likely.

About 500 firefighters will continue to battle the blaze over the weekend, with crews and other resources brought in from the SA mainland.

The fire had been burning since late in December but escalated dramatically on Friday when it jumped containment lines during hot and windy conditions.

At one stage the entire island was subject to either an emergency warning or a watch and act advice with only the towns of Kingscote and Penneshaw on the east coast considered safe places.

By Saturday morning the situation had eased with cooler conditions providing an opportunity for fire crews to work on establishing fresh defences.

However, CFS chief officer Mark Jones said it was expected the fire would continue to burn for several days.

Mr Marshall said the government had already appointed a community recovery officer and would look at what additional support islanders would need in the coming days.

"It's clear that South Australia has had an extraordinarily difficult time with extensive damage right across our state," he said.

"Our focus at the moment is doing everything that we possibly can to contain the fire on Kangaroo Island.

"But very quickly our focus will move onto recovery."

Mr Marshall said he had also spoken to Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday with the PM offering "all the support that is required".

At one stage on Friday, the blaze had threatened the towns of Parndana and Vivonne Bay, which were both evacuated, but both were spared any major damage.

The luxury Southern Ocean Lodge on the island's west coast was not so lucky, suffering structural damage, though the owners said all guests were moved to Kingscote or Adelaide before the threat intensified.

Six staff stayed to monitor the situation and activate the facility's emergency plan but all had since been accounted for and were uninjured.

The operators of the Sealink ferry service said up to 300 people were currently at a relief centre in Kingscote seeking passage to the mainland and it was working with authorities to get them on board as soon as possible.

The operators of the Kangaroo Island Connect ferry had also offered their services to move people off the island.

Add a Comment

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter