Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Nine people have died in bush-fires in the region of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The fire has spread over 40,000 hectares of scrub, bushland and farmland so far and is still burning out of control. Hundreds of firemen have been fighting the fire, but conditions have been difficult because of strong winds and temperatures soaring well over 40 degrees Celsius. Of the nine who have died, eight were attempting to escape the advancing fire in their cars. Four children were among the dead. Locals of some rural towns fled to the ocean to escape the fires. Thousands of sheep and cattle have also been killed in the fires.
Separate fires have also been burning around Mount Osmond and Cleland National Park in the Adelaide hills. No fatalities have been recorded in this region. Fires also burn in country Victoria.
Bush-fires are annual occurrences in Australia, but these fires have been the worst in terms of deaths since the Ash Wednesday fires that killed 28 people in South Australia. Two years ago, over 400 houses were burnt down in a bush fire in the Australian capital city, Canberra.