Two killed in South Australia bushfire

From 9News:

“At least two people are dead and 13 people remain in hospital, five of them in serious or critical conditions, after yesterday’s devastating Pinery bushfire in South Australia.

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill confirmed “grave fears” were held for more people, with the full cost of the blaze still to unfold.

Watch the TODAY Show [for live stream occasional coverage of] the latest fire updates.

“We can’t be sure we have identified every single person in the fireground,” Mr Weatherill told a press conference this morning.

A 56-year-old woman was killed in a car in Hamley Bridge, while the body of 69-year-old man was found in a paddock in Pinery. Their families have been notified.  Thirteen people remain in hospital, five of those of whom are in serious or critical conditions. One of those has burns to around 80 percent of their body. At least two of those injured

At least 16 homes have been destroyed.”

At least four dead in Western Australia fire

Police in Western Australia have confirmed that four people have been killed in a vegetation fire in Western Australia on the south coast near Esperance. It is feared that two more may have also died.


…Fire and Emergency Services Regional Superintendent Trevor Tasker said the blaze at Salmon Gums was the worst he had ever seen.

“The wind and weather conditions … there was no stopping it,” he said.

Two of those killed are believed to be a farmer and one of his workers from Salmon Gums.

Superintendent Tasker said they are thought to have they crashed a car while trying to flee their farm.

“We believe that may be the case, but we really can’t say for sure,” he said.

There are four fires burning in the region, but the two most serious are at Grass Patch and Salmon Gums, 100 kilometres north of Esperance and at Stockyard Creek, 25 kilometres east of the town…

Fire Aviation has an article posted today about large air tankers from North America being deployed to Australia for their 2015/2016 summer bushfire season.

Firefighters from New Zealand and Australia to assist with wildfires in the U.S.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho is mobilizing firefighters from Australia and New Zealand to assist with wildfire suppression efforts in the western United States. The two countries have been key partners with the U.S. fire community for more than 50 years but were last mobilized in 2008 when heavy fire activity was similar to this year.

The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group requested 71 fire managers and specialists.  Although final details of the arrangement are still being worked out, the contingent from Australia and New Zealand is expected to arrive in Boise on August 23 for a one-day induction to learn about current fire behavior, fuels, and weather conditions. Upon completion of the orientation, they will be assigned to large fires.

The request includes 15 Division Supervisors; 15 Task Force/Strike Team Leaders; 15 Helicopter Managers; 10 Heavy Equipment Bosses; 10 Safety Officers; 4 Regional Liaison Officers; and two National Liaison Officers.  Fifteen of the total are from New Zealand. Assistance from Australia and New Zealand is a good fit primarily because their fire organizations are very similar to the United States national fire organization in training requirements and structure.

The first Indigenous female firefighting crew in South Australia

Australia’s ABCNews produced a radio program about the first Indigenous female firefighting crew in South Australia. You can listen to it HERE; below is an excerpt from the transcript.


“MARK COLVIN: A group of women in a remote Aboriginal community in South Australia’s APY Lands have formed the state’s first Indigenous female fire-fighting team.

For cultural reasons women in Mimili can’t join the Country Fire Service unit in the town.

But with the men often out of community on cultural business and other help so far away the women decided to train up so they could protect themselves and their land.

One of the new fire-fighters says she hopes other Indigenous women follow their lead.

Natalie Whiting reports.

NATALIE WHITING: About five hours from Uluru in the top corner of South Australia is Mimili.

A group of women there have been spending today putting out fires.

TANIA POMPEY: We’re going out just doing some patch-burning and I think we’re doing burning a car, that’s one of our old wrecks in our rubbish dump here, just keeping up our training skills that we learnt.

NATALIE WHITING: Tania Pompey is one Mimili’s new fire-fighters.

She and eight other women have undergone training with the Country Fire Service.

TANIA POMPEY: We’ve got a male CFS team and so I was just seeing how they do their training and I thought oh well, if the men go away or anything like that for a bit of trips and things, I just decided we can’t go after them, us women have to stick up for ourselves and just look after the family.

NATALIE WHITING: Absolutely, and I guess with cultural business, men’s business, there are times when most of the men aren’t in communities, is that the case?

TANIA POMPEY: Yes, and I saw how well the men team were working together, and I went to one of the training courses and I just though oh well, let’s do it.

NATALIE WHITING: Now, I understand that you guys are actually going to be the first Indigenous female fire-fighting team.

How did you feel when you heard that?

TANIA POMPEY: Totally, totally overwhelmed.

We didn’t, we just thought oh, just a bunch of ladies doing it and then one of my friends said “we haven’t heard anything like this from other people before”, and so we felt really privileged…”

102 Australian fire personnel assisting with wildfires in Canada

Aussie firefighters in Canada

Australian fire personnel gather at the airport before departing to assist Canada with their wildfires.

Country Fire Authority members in Australia were among 42 Victorian emergency management personnel who left recently for Canada to help fight the worsening wildfires in British Columbia and Alberta.

They’re part of a 102-strong Australian contingent organized by State Control Centre – Emergency Management Victoria who will spend the next 6 weeks filling specialist leader roles in operations, planning, air attack and incident control.