Terrifying scenes during huge bushfire

The alert level for an out-of-control bushfire in South Australia has been downgraded but residents are still being warned to take action.

The out-of-control bushfire that ripped through South Australia’s southeast and threatened residents reduced further overnight after hours of intense and worrying scenes.

Residents near the huge grass fire in Blackford, Lucindale, Avenue Range, Woolumbool and Stewarts Range were given respite in the late hours of Monday night and is now at Advice message active.

The fire started on Monday afternoon at around 12.30pm at Blackford near Mount Scott Conservation Park and has burnt through almost 17,000 hectares of land.

Numerous buildings, fences and stock have been lost or damaged. The fire burnt into the township of Lucindale, although there has been no confirmed losses of houses.

“If you are in this area stay alert, monitor local conditions and decide what you will do if the situation changes,” the CFS said overnight

The fire saw multiple emergency warnings and on Monday afternoon residents were given a reprieve to “leave now” after they were earlier warned it was too late to leave the area.

“The fire currently has a Watch and Act message active and, although the fire conditions have abated, the fire is not yet contained,” the CFS said in an updated alert on Monday night.

Earlier they warned: “Take action now as this bushfire may threaten your safety.

“If you are not prepared, leave now and if the path is clear, go to a safer place. Do not enter this area as conditions are dangerous.”

At the height of the fire a mammoth team of 45 fire trucks and 200 firefighters, supported by farm fire units, fought the fire. The CFS also used 6 water bombing aircraft as well as 5 support aircraft.

The grass fire continues to burn in an easterly to north-easterly direction towards Minnie Crowe Road Avenue Range and Fairview Road at Lucindale.

However, the CFS warned conditions were continually changing.

The blaze first broke out at Blackford, about 150km northwest of Mount Gambier in the Mount Scott Conservation Park.

Smoke is causing problems in the area and motorists have been warned to be cautious of smoke across roads.

“If you are driving through the smoke you should slow down and drive with your headlights on,” the CFS said.

“Anyone travelling on these roads should be mindful of fallen trees, and injured or dead livestock and animals.”

The CFS has advised the following roads have been closed:

  • Avenue Range Road between Reedy Creek and Lucindale
  • The Minnie Crowe Road South of Old Coach Road
  • Crower Road from Konetta Road is closed to everyone except local traffic.

SA Power Networks reports more than 3100 customers in the state’s southeast are without power, with affected towns including Naracoorte, Kingston SE, Lucindale, Blackford and Coorong.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the combination of hot temperatures, a dry atmosphere and fresh and gusty winds had made for severe-to-extreme fire weather conditions in parts of the state.

“The west and south of the state is experiencing a low-intensity heatwave, increasing to severe heatwave conditions in the far-west early this week,” the bureau said on Monday.

“A milder, fresh and gusty southerly wind change will gradually extend over the western and southern districts during Monday.”

The BOM urges motorists to take care in agricultural areas as conditions will remain dry and raised dust is a possibility.

Meanwhile in Victoria, residents in Melbourne’s west had a close call as a grassfire headed towards Taylors Lakes, which was later declared under control.

Around 70 firefighters worked to tame the blaze, which burnt through 20 hectares.

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