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03 Jan 2020 | 07:52 PM UTC

Australia: Bushfires on Kangaroo Island kill two people January 4

Officials confirm two fatalities due to bushfires on Kangaroo Island (South Australia) on January 4; containment efforts ongoing

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Event

At least two people were killed due to the ongoing bushfires on Kangaroo Island (South Australia) on Saturday, January 4. Emergency personnel recovered two bodies near the Playford Highway in the central part of the island. Damage assessments and containment efforts are ongoing as of Saturday morning (local time), where fires have burned almost 150,000 hectares (370,658 acres) over the past month. The County Fire Service (CFS) issued a Watch and Act warning for the western part of the island and an Advice for the eastern areas on Saturday. However, a bushfire near Ravine in the northwest remains out of control.

Travelers are being advised to avoid non-essential travel to the island until further notice. Roads across the island remain closed and transportation disruptions are expected over the near term. South Australia Water is asking customers on Kangaroo Island to limit non-essential drinking water use, including limiting washing laundry, vehicles, or lawns. Bushfires are impacting the Middle River Water Treatment Plant and limiting supplies to customers in Kingscote, Parndana, and the surrounding areas.

Weather conditions improved overnight from Friday, January 3, into Saturday, with cooler temperatures and rain across the island. Officials said that 500 firefighters have been deployed on Saturday to combat the bushfires. However, it is possible that conditions may deteriorate in the coming days. A heightened security presence, road closures, telecommunication disruptions, and power outages are to be expected in the vicinity of any wildfire. Up-to-date information on the fires can be found here.

Advice

Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, keep abreast of warnings, anticipate transportation and power disruptions, and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities, notably evacuation orders.

As high temperatures are expected in the near-term, individuals are also advised avoid strenuous activities or spending time outdoors, particularly during midday, wear loose-fitting clothing, drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating liquids, such as alcoholic, sugary, or caffeinated drinks, and seek immediate medical attention if exhibiting symptoms of heat stroke, such as nausea, confusion, headache, rapid and strong pulse, and dry skin.