It’s been a terrible few days for the Kangaroo Island community. The western end of the island has suffered enormously and the full extent of the damage continues to emerge.
The South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) advises that the fire remains an ongoing concern on the western end of the island. The eastern end – including Kingscote, Cygnet River and Penneshaw – has not been impacted.
The CFS is hoping that cooler conditions over the next couple of days will assist in their continued heroic firefighting efforts, but remain concerned about hot and windy weather forecast for Thursday.
The worst hit areas have been the tourism businesses on the southern side. We know at this stage, the luxury Southern Ocean Lodge, Hanson Bay Cabins, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Western KI Caravan Park and Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat have suffered extensive damage. The Flinders Chase National Park has been substantially damaged with the Visitor Information Centre and café sadly destroyed.
Once it is safe to get access to these areas, we will be in a better position to provide a more definitive update. We are already working on how we will support the community and the island’s tourism sector. We stand ready to offer our support and deliver a long-term recovery plan - just as we've committed to with the Adelaide Hills region. It's good to hear that some operators are offering modified tours on the eastern end of the island, where it is safe.
The SATC has been liaising with the State Recovery Operations Group, tourism officials on the island and inbound operators, ferry companies and airlines, Kangaroo Island Tourism Food Wine and Beverage Association as well as other state government departments.
Some parts of the island are already “open for business” – in particular operators on the eastern end. Our social media and website pages will be regularly updated as quickly as we can, supporting their efforts to offer tourism services and encouraging visitors on the island to explore the eastern end.
It is important we all support the island during this period, and we hope to provide more information as soon as it is available.
As it stands, the CFS is advising anyone travelling to the island to check with their accommodation or travel providers, and to heed all warnings while on the island. Tours are able to operate in areas of the island that are safe.
As always, we encourage anyone seeking information about bushfire warnings and advice to refer to the CFS website