Fires on first summer day
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.