‘Severe’ fire warning ahead of holidays

The Country Fire Service has issued a severe fire warning for popular vacation spots across South Australia, warning strong winds tomorrow could blow a family bonfire out of control.

Total fire bans will be in place for nine districts due to northerly winds expected to reach 60km/h and gusts of up to 40km/h.

Most of the state, except for the Mount Lofty Ranges, will endure dry conditions, with the strongest winds predicted to hit in the early morning to midafternoon around Eyre and Yorke peninsulas, Kangaroo Island and the southeastern slopes of the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Motorists are urged to drive with caution as elevated dust is expected across the Mid North, Flinders and Eyre Peninsula districts.

Adelaide will avoid the worst of the conditions, according to meteorologist Bonnie Haselgrove.

She said wind speeds in the capital would likely be around 20-50km/h and would gradually ease throughout the day.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a gale warning for the Far West Coast, Upper West Coast, Lower West Coast, Central Coast, South Central Coast and Lower South East Coast areas.

A strong wind warning will also be in place for Adelaide Metropolitan Waters, Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent, Investigator Strait and Upper South East Coast.

It will be the first time since January 11 this year that a fire ban will be in place for nine districts.

CFS state duty commander Scott Turner said it was not unusual to see fire bans in autumn, but it was a timely reminder for school holiday goers and people coming out of Easter break who may be lighting camp fires or comfort fires to put them out tomorrow.

“Only last week the CFS saw three fires get up very quickly from patrolled burns; two that rekindled and one that escaped due to the weather, and tomorrow’s weather will be worse,” Mr Turner said.

“The CFS is urging the community to work with us in a partnership to ensure no fires start tomorrow.

“Should a fire start tomorrow in this wind, it will be challenging for community members and CFS to stop it.”

Mr Turner said several aircraft had been recalled to the Eyre Peninsula and Mount Lofty Ranges to assist ground crews should fires start.

A cool change is expected later in the afternoon, starting from the west coast, moving through to the Mount Lofty Ranges and into the eastern part of the state later in the evening.

Showers are expected to develop across the agricultural area and the western part of the state, but less than 5mm of rainfall is anticipated.

Over the 2019-20 summer period, Kangaroo Island was ravaged by bushfires that burned through 211,000 hectares.

The fire began on the north coast of the island after lightning strikes hit on December 20, 2019.

The fire was not contained until January 21, 2020 and was declared safe on February 6.

The Term 2 school holidays began on Saturday and will run until April 25.

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