Two people have died, 13 people are in hospital, and more than a dozen houses have been destroyed by a fast-moving bushfire that swept through Roseworthy, 60km north of Adelaide, on Wednesday.
As more than 350 firefighters battle the blaze, which has burnt through 90 hectares of farmland near the Barossa Valley, for a second day, the Victorian government has sent fresh crews to help contain the fire’s 210km perimeter after a relatively calm night, when stopped spreading at about 1am.
This morning South Australian premier Jay Weatherill said a 56-year-old woman from Hamley Bridge woman, who was found in a car, and a 69-year-old man from Pinery, whose body was discovered in a paddock, were killed by the blaze. The man was believed to be helping try and save a neighbour’s property.
A further three people are still unaccounted for.
Five people hospitalised are in a critical condition.
“One of them has burns to more than 80% of their body. We do hold grave concerns for them,” the premier said.
At least 16 homes, as well as farm buildings and machinery were destroyed, along with the 80-year-old Wasleys Bowling Club. More than 2000 sows are feared dead after the blaze hit Wesley’s Piggery, one of the state’s largest pork farms.
— Andrew Dowdell (@Andrew_Dowdell) November 25, 2015
The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) says sporadic fires continue to flare up on the existing blaze site, but for now it appears the worst is over.
— Country Fire Service (@CFSAlerts) November 25, 2015
South Australian police have kept a number of roads in the area closed today.
— SA Police News (@SAPoliceNews) November 25, 2015
A number of local schools are also closed.
— Dept Edu & Child Dev (@DECD_SA) November 25, 2015
More than 20,000 homes lost power yesterday afternoon and on Thursday morning
What started the fire remains unknown, but strong winds, gusting up to 80km/h yesterday, fanned the front line at speed and it covered 50km in the first four hours yesterday. Police will begin investigating the cause today.
Relief centres have been established at the Gawler Sports and Recreation Centre, the Balaklava Racecourse and Clare showgrounds.
Today New South Wales braces for conditions similar to those which sparked the South Australian fires.
Sydney is expected to hit 38 degrees Celsius in hot, windy conditions before a southerly change late in the afternoon.
Fire bans have been introduced in four regions in NSW: Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Northern Slopes and Northern Western regions.
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