from Anne in Adelaide, South Australia: Red Emergency Warning – Out of Control

25 January, 2021

Cherry Gardens, Scott Creek Fire

The ‘Red Emergency Warning’ on our Alert SA Apps is the one to fear if the map covers your home. Unless you have a house that is defendable you should have already left the area. By this stage, the roads out may be blocked. Safety now lies remaining in your home and you hope that the CFS (Country Fire Service) will come and help you. The CFS publish recommendations on what to do when a firefront goes over your house. You just hope you have read and remember them.

‘You are now in danger. Take shelter in a solid building. … For updates listen to your local ABC radio station on a battery powered radio.’

Yesterday, a fire started in the Adelaide Hills, 17 kms to our south-west. The fire quickly exploded into the Cherry Gardens’ eucalyptus forests and the hills and steep valleys of the precious Scott Creek Conservation Park. Many koalas and other slow-moving animals have perished.

https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/scott-creek-conservation-park

It is now reported that the fire was deliberately lit. There were various ignition spots. The alleged perpetrator was apprehended at the scene – a 60 year old man 3 times over our legal alcohol limit.

Over 400 fire fighters battled the fire on the 42 degree day as it spread towards some larger towns. The fire quickly burnt 2,700 hectares destroying 17 out-buildings and at least 2 homes. No deaths reported. People evacuated their horses and other animals onto cricket ovals and many messages of support went out on social media. The fire had a perimeter of 28 kms.

This morning, still hot, we awoke to the strong smell of smoke and the sight of Adelaide covered in grey. Many people posted pictures of the immense clouds forming over the Hills.

Some call these ‘fire clouds’ or pyrocumulus clouds. I think it’s just smoke. Channel 9 image.

We watched the weather maps for the promised rain. At first the weather system slid past us to the south, to Kangaroo Island, but in the early afternoon the rain came: over 30 mm fell over the fire ground. It was most welcome. I took our dog walking in the warm rain. However, it will take more than one day of rain to put out this fire. It will smoulder in the forests, in the burning logs.

They have not yet counted the cost in terms of the conservation park and its wealth of native creatures.

Images taken from the Channel 9 News and on the right, a waterfall on our driveway.