06 December 2007

Widespread bushfires in SA

SA has seen widespread fire activity today. Multiple news articles from ABC, linked below. Unfortunately, clouds have covered much of the state today, and the Aqua satellite is temporarily out of order, so not much in the way of spiffy satellite imagery. The Sentinel website has also been a bit dodgy today, and of NAFI is for the north, so...

Three fires are burning on South Australia's far west coast.

The third fire noted in the news item above is obscured by clouds. It was further off the west, closer to the WA border. This image was captured after the change passed through (see below), as the smoke plumes are streaming off to the NE...

More than 30 Country Fire Service (CFS) firefighters are tackling a blaze three kilometres north of Naracoorte in the south-east of South Australia.

Fires have been reported at O'Halloran Hill in Adelaide's south, along with Happy Valley and further south again at Aldinga, McLaren Vale and Myponga.

A grass fire has been burning near Foul Bay on Lower Yorke Peninsula.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) says it is near the Hundred Line, Happy Valley and South Coast Roads, heading south toward Foul Bay.

The CFS has dozens of firefighters tackling the blaze and says about 300 hectares have been burnt.

Another fire has been burning near Goldsmith Road near Edithburgh but the CFS says the danger there has eased (as at 5:30pm ACDT).

The CFS also has crews battling a string of fires sparked by lightning on Kangaroo Island, including one in the Western River Conservation Park.

South Australia's Country Fire Service (CFS) is turning its attention to several bushfires burning on Fleurieu Peninsula.

Crews are still attending to fires at Edithburgh and Warooka on the Yorke Peninsula.

The CFS is also tonight reporting widespread smoke across much of southeastern SA. This is primarily due to12 confirmed fires on Kangaroo Island.

The entire state was under a Total Fire Ban. The synoptic situation was a classic SE Australia high fire danger day, reminiscent of the Ash Wednesday fires. Maximum temperatures throughout were in the mid-to upper 30s, minimum relative humidities were 10% and below. These conditions were associated with a frontal system moving from the west. Winds ahead of the front were northerly and gusty, giving extreme fire dangers throughout the state. The air behind the front was considerably cooler, with strong southwesterly winds. A strong wind change adds danger for firefighters.

To highlight the sharpness of the front: In Ceduna at 1200, the temperature was 38.4 with 9% RH and northerly winds at 50 km/h, gusts to 70km/h. Half an hour later, the temperature was 25.0, with 59% RH and WSW winds about the same speed and gustiness.

The main threats appear to be easing with the cool change.

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