Everything you need to know about the bush fires on Kangaroo Island
Bush Fires on Kangaroo Island January 2020
Kangaroo Island, like most of Australia, is regularly impacted by bush fires during summer. While most bush fires are much more localised, the summer of 2019-20 saw an unprecedented bush fire event that seriously impacted Kangaroo Island, as well as other parts of Australia.
Fires started on the North Coast of the Island on the 20th December, 2019, from lightning strikes, and by the 30th December were relatively under control, burning within contained lines. On the night of the 30th December, more lightning strikes hit the island, this time within the Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area, north of the Flinders Chase National Park. As conditions deteriorated, emergency service personnel worked closely with the community around the western end of the island, and by the 2nd January, 2020 evacuations begun.
On the 3rd January, 2020 the western end of the island, home to the Flinders Chase National Park, and the adjoining Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection area was burnt along with Kelly Hill Conservation Park. Fires continued to burn across the island for some weeks, two lives were lost, many businesses, homes and farms were lost, countless numbers of livestock, and precious habitat and wildlife perished.
"The 2019-20 summer bushfires on Kangaroo Island were the largest in the island's
recorded history and burnt more vegetation than any fire on the island."
Many hundreds of on ground and aerial firefighters were involved, supported by many other agencies, private industry and the local community to bring the fires under control. On 21st January the fire was declared contained, and on the 6th February declared safe. Of the 440,500 hectare island, approximately 211,000 hectares has been affected by this fire.
What does Recovery look like?
Kangaroo Island is now in recovery. The community is recovering through support from many sources including the Defence Force, many wildlife caring organisations, BlazeAid and the many volunteers assisting. Businesses are beginning to be supported through tourism returning, helping to #BookThemOut and #HolidayHereThisYear, and nature is recovering at a lightning speed.
"Nature is a dynamic mulit-tasker. Nature can adjust and process so quickly and subtly
that we are not always aware of what is happening."
Dr P Rismiller, Pelican Lagoon Research and Wildlife Centre
Fire is a natural reset button for nature, and it is not slow to respond. The fascinating and dynamic process of nature's recovery is something that really should be seen to be believed. Visitors to the island over the coming weeks and months will be treated to the unique opportunity of seeing the harsh blackness, already softened by wind and rain with new signs of growth and life. Wildlife is venturing back to the recovery grounds looking for new food sources and homes, and they are unhidden by the bush that was once and obstacal that they could hide behind.
See for yourself the recovery and amazing stories below.
What is Open on Kangaroo Island?
The majority of the Island is unaffected by the fires, and is open for business. Please visit our Map www.kimap.com.au for up to date information about what is open, to see and do.
National Parks on Kangoo Island
National Parks have an up-to date page regarding recovery in the Parks - Here. You will also find a National Parks of Kangaroo Island Visior Guide: February 2020 on this page, under Which Parks are Open?
Kangaroo Island Accommodation
If you are contemplating visiting Kangaroo Island, see our listings here.
Touring around Kangaroo Island
Our tour providers have been working hard to provide alternative itineraries for all customers. To contact a tour provider, please see our listings here.
Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that you may have questions, and as such have prepared an FAQ document to assist. If the information you are requiring is not included, please contact us directly. FAQ can be found here.
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