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Mayor Peter Davis joins the 7.30 Report -

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Mayor Peter Davis joins the 7.30 Report

Broadcast: 23/12/2009

Reporter: Heather Ewart

Port Lincoln Mayor Peter Davis speaks to Heather Ewart about the catastrophic fire conditions in
South Australia.

Transcript

HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: It's been a hellish day for South Australia, with half the state enduring
catastrophic fire conditions. Worst hit has been the tuna town Port Lincoln on the Lake Air
Peninsula, where at least five homes have been destroyed.

A number of water bombers have been deployed to help struggling crews on the ground.

A short while ago I spoke to the Port Lincoln Mayor Peter Davis for the latest.

Peter Davis, can you explain to us first how this day unfolded? You had extreme fire danger
warnings I think.

PETER DAVIS, MAYOR PORT LINCOLN: Correct Heather. The day finished up at about 40 degrees with a
northerly of about 20 knots when the fire ignited at about I'm guessing 1 o'clock.

And clearly with the fuel load, where it ignited, that is immediately north-west of the city, it
burned quite rapidly in a southerly direction. Clearly uncontrollable and it wouldn't have mattered
what fire breaks had been created, it's most unlikely we could've controlled it.

The fire finished up in the north-western outskirts of suburban Port Lincoln with some loss of,
well we know six, perhaps more homes.

HEATHER EWART: But no loss of life that you're aware of at the moment?

PETER DAVIS: Nor injuries and that is, well, let's keep our fingers crossed a blessing. The current
conditions are that it is calm. Fire bombers are still operating so clearly there are still
hotspots.

HEATHER EWART: So how have residents been coping with this? Has there been a sense of panic, I
suppose?

PETER DAVIS: Probably the answer to that is honestly yes, in that because the power to the city
failed, that meant that, there's only two or three sets of traffic lights in town, they shut down.
I can see from here that they're now working again, which is heartening.

HEATHER EWART: You mentioned earlier that you partly blame fuel loads.

PETER DAVIS: Yeah.

HEATHER EWART: Is that the general view of your community?

PETER DAVIS: Probably not because a lot of people in my judgement are irresponsible and personally
I'd like to see us government authorities take great precautions. Yeah there's a blasé - I mean
certainly my perspective is much more phobic than the average but then I've probably had a little
more experience of fire and I know what the firefighters, the risks that they have to take, and I
don't think that they should be exposed to, in my judgement, unnecessary risk.

HEATHER EWART: Well clearly it's going to be a very tough Christmas now for those people who lost
their homes. Are you satisfied that the worst is over?

PETER DAVIS: Yes. I'd be very surprised if through tonight, given the prevailing weather
conditions, the CFSs and the volunteers etc, farmers, fire trucks, don't contain it. But the
suffering of those that have lost property and hopefully no lives, but we know there's been some
livestock lost and certainly serious property loss. Yeah, Christmas is two days away.

HEATHER EWART: It is indeed. Well Peter Davis, I'm sure you're very busy. Thank you very much for
taking the time to join us.

PETER DAVIS: Thank you Heather. Goodbye.