by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
The Tantanoola fire has burnt over 730 hectares in an area with a 20 kilometre circumference, starting at the top of the ridge overlooking Glencoe and Tantanoola. This morning (Saturday) we spoke with Mike Kemp Wattle Range Group Officer in Charge, who said they are trying to stop it from spreading and weather conditions will greatly affect this. They are hopeful that the wind will not increase.
He said, “We have 5 planes in the air water bombing the fire and over 40 appliances on the ground. Each ground appliance has 4 to 6 personnel in each team so we have hundreds of people fighting this fire.”
He put in a request for another 8 appliances as we were speaking to him, hopeful that they may come from Victoria but with no guarantee that they can be spared.
“We are thin on the ground at the moment and we are on our third wave of personnel with no prospect of that changing today.”
“We have bulldozers to create breaks, with some coming from the local area, one just arriving from Portland and another one on the way.”
He said his main concern would be if the wind changed. There is an area close to the fire, of native vegetation, and they are desperately trying to prevent that catching alight.
He said they are quietly optimistic that they will control the fire but they thought that was the case mid afternoon on Friday until the wind changed and with that the whole scenario changed.
It is their hope that they can keep the fire with in the lines shown on the map below.
Mr Kemp stressed that his message to the community was to be vigilant, keep watch, take care.
“All resources are stretched at the moment and we need to consolidate, and control this one with out any other incidents.’
Mr Kemp and his personel have had few hours sleep since early afternoon yesterday,when the call came in and it appears tonight will be a long night too, he said.
CFS Regional Commander John Probert said the Community Meeting held at Glencoe this morning (Saturday) was well attend by approximately 200 people. He said the purpose of the meeting was to explain to the residents of the area, what had been done, what was being done and what the plan was in keeping the fire contained. It was also an opportunity for people to get together and all hear the same information.
The most recent statement from the CFS today at 3-00 pm said:-
CFS wishes to advise that the fire in the Tantanoola and Glencoe area has changed with fire behaviour having slowed. Ground crews continue to actively patrol and mop up the fire area. Although the immediate threat to public safety has reduced the fire may still threaten your safety. Residents of the Glencoe, Glencoe West, Tantanoola and Burrungle areas will need to remain vigilant as fire conditions may change due to fluctuating weather conditions.
Stay tuned to this radio station on a battery-powered radio for updates.
For information about bushfires, check the CFS website http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361