From late December 2019 through to mid-January 2020, South Australia’s Kangaroo Island experienced the most severe bushfires in its recorded history.
The first wave of fires was almost under control when lightning strikes on the 30th December brought a second wave. The deteriorating conditions that followed saw a total of over 200,000 hectares – almost half of the island – affected by fire.
Over 90 per cent of the famous Flinders Chase National Park was burned out, two people lost their lives and losses of native animals and livestock were immense.
A range of volunteer organisations worked alongside defence force personnel to begin remediation of the damage, and by late February the park had reopened.
The island’s unique natural environment made the fires a topic of media interest the world over, and community support bolstered a campaign to return tourism on the island to a semblance of normality. Then, of course, national and state borders closed in the face of the pandemic, and in late 2020 as South Australia’s situation regresses, the road to recovery seems an uncertain one.