Firefighters battle bushfires in Barossa

Two bushfires have been brought under control after ripping through more than 2,000 hectares of South Australia’s Barossa Valley, causing extensive damage to several wineries.

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The first fire broke out in a paddock near Angaston just after 11am on Tuesday with flames driven by 70kmh winds, as reported by 9news.com. Burning through 1,400 hectares, the fire is believed to have ignited when a tree stump, which had recently been hit by lightning, rekindled.

Less than three hours later, a second fire broke out at nearby Springton which burnt through 700 hectares and is believed to have been caused by a tree trunk falling on power lines.

Both fires are still burning, but have been contained. The bushfires broke out either side of last summer’s Eden Valley blaze, which destroyed seven homes and burnt 24,000 hectares.

One firefighter broke his arm while battling the blaze at Springton, however there are not thought to be any further casualties.

While firefighters were able to prevent serious damage, several wineries have suffered extensive damage including Hutton Vale, which saw fire burn through half of its vineyards. The full effect of residual smoke damage on the region’s grapes not yet known.

Stephen Henschke, winemaker and CEO of the Henschke winery, told ABC Radio: “It was one of these situations where it was a fire ban day but it was relatively cool, very windy and very gusty. When this fire started it was very close to our Mt Edelstone vineyard, probably less than a kilometre away and near the Hutton Vale property, it just took off like a rocket. Within half an hour it had burnt past our winery. It was travelling anything up to about 60 or 70 kilometres per hour.”

“Fortunately Hill of Grace was over the other side of a hill, probably two or three kilometres away from the fire. But sadly it burnt through John and Jan Angas’ vineyard on their Hutton Vale property,” Henschke said.

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