Mid North volunteers join battle against bushfires on Kangaroo Island

TRIP: Fire-fighters Ron, left, from Port Broughton, Stefan from Andamooka, Tom from Yongala and Nick from Wilmington went to Kangaroo Island.
TRIP: Fire-fighters Ron, left, from Port Broughton, Stefan from Andamooka, Tom from Yongala and Nick from Wilmington went to Kangaroo Island.

Fire-fighters from the Mid North, Flinders Ranges and outback joined the battle against raging flames on Kangaroo Island.

About 60 Country Fire Service volunteers from the service's Port Augusta-based region four rallied to the cause.

They included crews from Port Pirie, Stirling North, Ward Hill, Booleroo Centre, Wilmington, Yongala, Napperby, Peterborough and Crystal Brook.

Last Tuesday, four more - from Napperby and Crystal Brook - flew out to fight the bushfires.

Regional prevention officer Quinton Kessner said two strike teams totalling almost 60 volunteers had turned out from the area when the Cudlee Creek blaze broke out in the Adelaide Hills.

He said 20 farm fire units had also gone to the firefront.

"The service has sent more than 1500 volunteers and staff, including some from Port Pirie, to the New South Wales fires in the past three months," he said.

"We could not be more proud of the commitment shown by our volunteers, not just in our own region, but across the state.

"The commitment is astronomical. Their families are sitting at home while they are out fighting fires. Without those people we would not have our volunteers."

Michael Crouch, of Wandearah brigade, and his shearer son Nathan both fought the fires in the Adelaide Hills.

Michael went with the Booleroo Centre crew and Nathan took their farm unit.

"We are not looking for any accolades. We were just going to help a mate. The Adelaide boys were up here when we had our fires at Bangor," Michael said.

"The boys thought they would pay a few paybacks."

They put out spot fires to help the other crews who were performing challenging tasks.

Nathan was busy at Birdwood with four or five other farm units. "There were a lot of private units - 15 to 20 of them at Birdwood," Michael said. "We had light winds, but nothing like what they had in New South Wales. It was manageable not so much in the heavy areas."

The Kangaroo Island fires devastated the entire western end of the island, taking two lives.

It destroyed 56 houses and many farms and tourism structures.

A witness said dead stock and wildlife and burned cars had lined a highway while out in the paddocks badly- burned sheep and cattle, as well as kangaroos and wallabies, stood awaiting their fate.

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