After many decades without fire the Tulka area near Port Lincoln was dry and had a lot of built up undergrowth. In 2005 a fire broke out sweeping across 145,000 Hectares, it killed 9 people and injured 113. A total of 93 homes were lost along with 50 other buildings, 100 vehicles and 30,000 livestock. Huge areas were evacuated and no one will forget the pictures of people standing in the sea to escape the flames that drove them there as they watched everything they owned destroyed.
Our state was in shock for months and the result was a heavy upgrade of fire fighting equipment, contingency plans, escape routes and fire fighting water supplies.
Just a week ago it happened again…
It started close to the previous fire and followed a similar pattern, burning in inaccessible areas until it built up then sweeping across the roads to attack the built up areas.
This time though, with more money expended and our firefighters ready for the fight the statistics are far more reasonable. (unless you owned one of the houses lost)
Farmers had time to cut their fences to release stock, homes were abandoned early and firefighters manned (and womanned) every possible firefighting vehicle… the entire state held our collective breaths.
This time we lost 9 homes, 11 sheds and just 850 Hectares of land.
With the reduction in losses we were able to concentrate on the wildlife like never before.
Kangaroos simply hop over fences and get away, Wombats dig their burrows deeper and survive in the cool earth but Koalas cant run or hide and generally die a miserable death.
The last fire destroyed countless Koalas over a huge area, a rare and special sub species was lost forever. Thankfully there were areas with far too many Koalas so they were simply moved into the fire damaged areas as regrowth appeared to support them.
This fire killed many of the imported animals and so with the state already prepared for an onslaught of injured humans they swung into action to save as many of the injured animals as they could.
*This little Kangaroo has burned feet and lost his mother in the fire, he's being cared for in the home of a wildlife warrior and will be released when possible.