Two people have been confirmed dead in huge bushfires north of Adelaide in South Australia.
As emergency services continue to battle the blazes which burned most intensely on Wednesday, 16 homes have been destroyed while 13 people are in hospital, five with serious burns.
Mayor of Light regional council, Bill O’Brien, described how the town of Kapunda came face to face with the terrifying fire front.
“At 6 o’clock here last night, it looked like winter. And then the sky lit up and it was very frightening,” he said, The Guardian reported.
Wasleys the morning after. #Pinery fire hit this small town hard. @KevCorduroy @CFSAlerts @DavidBevanSA pic.twitter.com/VQ79MXoc0g
— 891Adelaide (@891adelaide) November 25, 2015
O’Brien said the fire seemed to engulf properties at random. “I feel absolutely gutted, you know. I love this region. I just don’t know where to start, what to do first,” he said.
John Lush, a farmer from Mallala, told ABC radio he watched helplessly as 25 metre high flames threatened his home which in the end was luckily spared.
“At the height of the fire, you couldn’t see anything,” he said.
“You couldn’t see the bullbar on the end of the ute. We tried to put it out and 10 seconds later behind you it’s alight again. You just couldn’t put it out. It was too intense”.
— ABC News (@abcnews) November 26, 2015
The bushfires had consumed over 80,000 hectares by Thursday.
Six schools and kindergartens were closed on Thursday and power still cut to some 3,000 homes.
“Work is going on to restore power supplies but remains slow because of difficulty reaching affected areas,” South Australia’s premier, Jay Weatherill, said.
“The department of transport has been working closely with emergency services and local government to clear roads.”
The premier said according to initial investigations, it did not appear that the fires were deliberately lit.
RT @elisebaker9: Road block at #Mallala. Huge plume of smoke and very strong winds out here. #SAfire @9NewsAdel pic.twitter.com/gox0F56hso
— Emergency.Life (@Emergency_Life) November 25, 2015
The South Australia blaze comes just a week after four people perished in major bushfires in Western Australia.
Emergency services in Australia’s eastern states are on alert as temperatures and winds rise, heralding the start of the bushfire season.