Fires on first sum­mer day

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - MITCH MOTT

TENS of thou­sands of light­ning strikes yes­ter­day sparked nu­mer­ous fires across South Aus­tralia, which is pre­par­ing for its first blast of sum­mer heat this week.

An out-of-con­trol fire burnt through 400ha of land on Yorke Penin­sula, be­fore it was con­tained by more than 100 Coun­try Fire Ser­vice crews – with the sup­port of wa­ter bombers and farm crews – near Stans­bury, pic­tured, just af­ter 4pm. The blaze started 5km east of Min­la­ton about two hours ear­lier and was fanned by 60km/h wind gusts through dry crops and to­wards farm­ing prop­er­ties and main roads.

A wind change caused the CFS con­cern even af­ter the fire was con­tained as a strike team pa­trolled the fire­ground to en­sure there were no flare-ups.

CFS crews also re­sponded to grass fires at Mid­dle River, Nalpa, Clare, Ham­ley Bridge, Wandilo, Long Plains, Et­trick and Duck Ponds.

A large num­ber of the fires were caused by a band of light­ning strikes, which were con­cen­trated around Kan­ga­roo Is­land, Clare Val­ley, the Mid North, Lower South-East and the Eyre Penin­sula.

State Emer­gency Ser­vice crews were also kept busy, re­spond­ing to more than 80 inci- dents, the ma­jor­ity of which were caused by strong winds.

The gusts brought down trees and power lines across met­ro­pol­i­tan Ade­laide. Al­most 9000 prop­er­ties were with­out power about 7pm yes­ter­day.

A cool change yes­ter­day even­ing brought re­lief from the heat but the mer­cury is fore­cast to again rise to­wards the mid­dle of the com­ing week.

Tem­per­a­tures in Ade­laide are pre­dicted to reach 35C on Wed­nes­day and then rise to 37C on Thurs­day for day one of the first cricket Test be­tween Aus­tralia and In­dia at Ade­laide Oval.

Mean­while, in Queens­land, a man was killed by a falling tree while clear­ing a fire­break at his fam­ily prop­erty.

The 21-year-old was at­tempt­ing to cut the tree with a chain­saw at a Rolle­ston prop­erty – north­west of Bris­bane – when it fell and trapped him about 7.30pm on Fri­day.

Three other peo­ple with him at the time tried to save him but he died at the scene.

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