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Firefighters ready to defend properties as South Australia faces another day of extreme weather

Wednesday November 18, 2015 - 16:02 EDT
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Smoke covers the hills as the Kyeema bushfire continues to burn out of control. - ABC

Firefighters remain on standby to defend properties from a bushfire at Kyeema, south of Adelaide, as weather conditions deteriorate with hot and blustery pre-summer heat.

Some 110 firefighters are working to contain the fire that is burning in scrub in a south-westerly direction towards Burma Road and the Yundi township, near Willunga, and in a southerly direction towards Enterprise Road.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) said the fire could pose a threat to homes on Burma Road and visited homes in the area to warn them of a potential risk.



Volunteer Peter Mew said crews had contained three flanks of the fire and were hoping to control the remaining front when it reached Enterprise Road.

"Unfortunately the southern flank of this fire is in very inaccessible country so it's a matter of hanging on and waiting for this fire to come out along the ridges so we can actually intercept it and cut it off," he said.

Crews are patrolling and blacking out fire edges, while bulldozers and graders have been used to create "mineral earth breaks" north and south of Enterprise Road.

CFS have issued a watch and act warning to local residents, warning them to check and follow their bushfire survival plan.

CFS earlier reported the fire had burned 80 hectares, but have since downgraded that to about 55 hectares.

Aerial water bombers are in use.



Local resident Rob Bowker, who has lived in the same house for 30 years, said he had been awake for about 30 hours preparing for the bushfire.

"We've got four sprinklers on the go, the gutters are sealed up, and I've got two pumps ready to fire up," he said.

"Got rid of the horses and the dogs and the wife ... they've gone down to Willunga.

"We had a lot of fire trucks out there last night."

Mr Bowker said he saw the Ash Wednesday fires and "would never forget it".

"[This fire] has the potential to be really serious," Mr Bowker said.

"It really depends on the winds today. If it breaks out and comes down in this direction ... we could lose houses."

North to north-westerly winds of up to 30 kilometres per hour are forecast this afternoon ahead of a shift to southerlies of up to 20 kph in the evening.



Weather conditions deteriorate ahead of forecast wind change

CFS Preparedness Operations director Leigh Miller at 1:00pm said weather conditions had deteriorated with gusty, strong winds expected.



"Communities to the south and south-east of that fire could potentially be threatened, but this fire is not moving anywhere in a hurry at the moment," he said.

"It's within bushland area. Once it gets out of the bushland it will be going into greener grasses ... and we'll be able to control it then. We don't expect it's going to progress too far."

Mr Miller said the CFS was expecting a stronger weather change tomorrow afternoon.

"We need to make sure we have this fire ground safe before we get into tomorrow's weather," he said.

He told local residents to listen to the radio and stay abreast of the latest developments.

"We still have quite a few hours of bad fire weather to go through yet," Mr Miller said.

Country Fire Service state coordinator Mark Thomason said today's windy conditions could cause spot fires.

"We are going to have embers get elevated and cross control lines and that will pose a problem for us," he said.

"I guess the fortunate thing is we've got crews on the ground now and we've got aircraft that are close by so we are able to respond to that quite quickly."

The fire began on Tuesday along with a number



Extreme pre-summer temperatures continue in SA

Temperatures have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the state, including Adelaide where the mercury soared above 40C by mid-afternoon.



Total fire bans are in force for 12 districts across the state and a cool change is not expected to arrive until late in the week.

"On Thursday, temperatures will exceed 40C in the north and east of South Australia ahead of a cool change," meteorologist Matt Collopy said.

"Cooler conditions will spread across western and southern parts of the state on Thursday then extend to remaining parts on Friday."

Overnight temperatures are expected to remain in the low to mid 20s for many parts of SA.

Mr Collopy warned of continuing high fire danger for the next two days.

"The combination of the very hot conditions and fresh north-westerly winds will result in severe to extreme fire weather conditions across much of the state on Wednesday and Thursday," he said.

Adelaide hit a top temperature of 36C on Tuesday, which was 10C above the mid-November average, and the Bureau of Meteorology warned parts of South Australia could expect maximum temperatures about 12C above their averages today.

"Similar temperatures are expected on Thursday ahead of a cool change extending across western and southern parts of the state during the day," Mr Collopy said.


- ABC

© ABC 2015

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