Bushfire burns large portion of Kangaroo Island south of Adelaide Australia

Officials say the only safe areas on the island are the Kingscote and Penneshaw communities

Ravine Fire Kangaroo Island map
Satellite photo from January 3, 2020 local time showing the Ravine Fire on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The red dots represent heat. Later the wind shifted, blowing the smoke toward the northeast. NASA.

A very large bushfire has burned a considerable portion of the western half of Kangaroo Island south of Adelaide, South Australia. The police say the only safe places from the Ravine Fire are on the east end of the 88-mile long island in the Kingscote and Penneshaw communities.

The island is an 8-mile ferry ride away from the mainland south of Adelaide. The western third is forested and is the location of Flinders Chase National Park, much of which has burned in the fire. There are reports of significant damage to hotels and other facilities in and near the park.

Ravine Fire Kangaroo Island map
Kangaroo Island is at the lower left. Fires are indicated by the cross-hatched areas, but as of January 4 local time the areas shown as burned were not up to date.

Below is an excerpt from an article at The Islander:

The son of the owner of the cafe at the Flinders Chase National Park has posted this on social media: “For anyone wondering the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre and most surrounding buildings have been burnt down by the fire decimating the west end of the island. To my knowledge many families are now out of a steady income and will require as much assistance as possible, I’m sure the island will accommodate the needs of those suffering.

Ravine Fire Kangaroo Island
File photo of the Southern Ocean Lodge on the southwest coast of Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Southern Ocean Lodge photo.

A very high end resort on the southwest coast, the Southern Ocean Lodge, sustained damage from the fire after guests were evacuated from the rooms that cost over $1,000 a night. Six senior staff members remained on site to monitor the situation and activate the sprinkler system designed to protect the structures. Photos taken before the fire show brush growing very close to structures at the facility.

 Ravine Fire Kangaroo Island
File photo of the Southern Ocean Lodge on the southwest coast of Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Southern Ocean Lodge photo.

The lightning-caused fire is burning toward the town of Parndana in the center of Kangaroo Island, prompting officials to issue an evacuation order for the community.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting that “up to 150,000 hectares” (370,000 acres) have burned in the fire. If accurate, that would be about half of the island.

On Friday a northwest wind was pushing the fire to the southeast, but by early Saturday (local time) a southwest wind was blowing the smoke over the mainland south of Adelaide. Relative humidity at Parndana is predicted to be 60 to 80 percent Saturday, which should slow the fire’s spread. In addition, much of the eastern half of the island is agricultural or ranch land with occasional stringers of trees, which would reduce fire’s resistance to control and the spotting potential.

Bomber 137, a Boeing 737 dropped Ravine Fire Kangaroo Island
Bomber 137, a Boeing 737, made several drops on the Ravine Fire January 3, 2020 reloading near Adelaide.

A 737 air tanker, Bomber 137, normally based this summer at Richmond, made several water or retardant drops on the fire Friday, reloading at RAAF Edinburgh near Adelaide.

Country Fire Service (CFS) deputy chief officer Andrew Stark said a decision will have to be made concerning the plans for cruise ships to arrive in the coming days, anchoring off the coast of Penneshaw on the east end of the island.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

One thought on “Bushfire burns large portion of Kangaroo Island south of Adelaide Australia”

  1. What are you seeing as to the cause of these fires? I have seen one mention of arson (!), but overall it seems like Australian news sources do not report suspected causes the way that Americans do. Thoughts?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *