Snowy Mountain fires merge to create megablaze

A popular holiday lodge at Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island was lost along with other properties in the south coast town during Thursday night’s escalation in the island’s bushfire emergency.

What remains of Vivonne Bay Lodge after it was destroyed by fire. Picture: Brad Fleet

The blaze is still burning in some areas but the Country Fire Service has reduced its warnings to a simple bushfire alert.

Cooler conditions and rain on Friday allowed firefighters to stop most of its forward spread.

It’s now destroyed more than 170000 hectares along with dozens of houses and hundreds of other buildings, as well as claimed two lives since it was first sparked by lightning more than two weeks ago.

Ferry operator SeaLink, which also runs Vivonne Bay Lodge, said the facility had suffered significant damage.

“Everyone at SeaLink is saddened by this loss of property,” the company said. “We are committed to supporting recovery efforts to rebuild Island infrastructure and tourism including re-establishing operations from Vivonne Bay Lodge as soon as practical.

“We are thankful that many homes in Vivonne Bay have been saved due to the tireless and outstanding efforts of emergency service personnel.”

Some of the damage around Parndana after bushfires swept across Kangaroo Island. Picture: AAP/David Mariuz

Also spared for a second time within a week was the central island town of Parndana where a number of residents had decided to stay and defend.

The fire came within about 15 kilometres of the island’s largest town of Kingscote before the situation eased.

CFS chief officer Mark Jones said while crews were now getting the upper hand in most areas, the fires would not be completely extinguished in the short term.

“The changing conditions should allow crews to be successful in reducing spread today and controlling the fires,” he said.

“They will not be extinguished today, I would not want anyone to take false hope from that.

“This is an ongoing and lengthy operation.”


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