Fires still rage in Australia

Last updated 20:09 20/01/2014

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Firefighters are still battling blazes across South Australia, which have been estimated to have caused A$10 million (NZ$10.6m) worth of property damage.

But the Country Fire Service (CFS) says that only the Bangor fire in the Southern Flinders Ranges remains subject to a watch and act alert.

Premier Jay Weatherill this afternoon visited the firegrounds at Eden Valley in the Barossa.

After being briefed by the CFS, he told journalists that property losses included 16 homes, 33 other buildings, about 18 vehicles, kilometres and kilometres of fencing and about 1700 head of stock.

Preliminary estimates put the damage loss about A$10 million, the premier said.

State forest loss in the state's mid-north was in the order of A$7 million, he added.

The government was providing assistance and support to people at the 200 affected farm properties.

He repeated his thanks to the volunteer firefighters, saying their extraordinary and courageous effort meant many losses were averted in the face of a very frightening fire.

"There have been some incredible saves, but also some tragic losses," Weatherill said.

Tour Down Under organisers earlier confirmed that stage one of the race would go ahead after earlier fears it might have to be cancelled due to the bushfires.

The two races are in the Barossa region and will finish at Angaston.

The premier said this was great news for people in the Barossa who had put up with a "very frightening and, in some cases, damaging experience" and who would now get to celebrate the race.

"It would have been a cruel thing if it was taken off them, just at a time when it was going to bring a lot of money into the economy," he said.

The race also would give them something happy to focus on, he added.

More than 445,000 hectares of grass, scrub, forest and bushlands has been burnt since fires started last Tuesday.

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