A bushfire in remote parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory has burnt through an area larger than some countries – but it seems not that many people have actually noticed.
The fire started near Ernabella in SA’s APY Lands on Thursday, and has now blackened about 125,000 hectares, or 1250 square kilometres, of pastoral land and scrub.
To put that in context, that’s more than four times bigger than the Maldives, and almost twice as big as Singapore, Bahrain or Tonga.
Fanned by high temperatures and strong winds, the giant fire has also crossed into the Northern Territory.
Country Fire Service staff officer Peter Ikonomopoulos said despite the fire’s size, there had been no reports of property damage in the isolated outback region.
He said indigenous-led volunteer brigades were the first on the scene.
“CFS crews from Ernabella, Amata and Mimili responded to the fire near Kenmore Park,” Mr Ikonomopoulos said.
“Due to the ferocity and volume of the fire, more crews were called from Coober Pedy, Roxby Downs, Mintabie and Marla, to provide assistance.”
Additional personnel from Port Augusta are also on their way to provide relief, police said.
Mr Ikonomopoulos said contractors from the APY Lands and Ceduna had supplied machinery to put in earth breaks to protect communities.
The CFS hopes favourable winds and the possibility of rain will cause the fire to burn back on itself, easing the threat.
But while police have said there is currently no danger to the Ernabella community, the CFS said firefighters were battling hard ahead of a wind change that could fan the flames in the direction of Ernabella later this week.
Police have asked tourists and service provides to avoid travelling on the Victory Downs and Mulga Park road because of smoke.
The road travels from the Stuart Highway along the border, through the Victory Downs and Mulga Park cattle stations, past Mount Conner to the Lasseter Highway and Yulara.