IT'S the busiest start to the fire season in "years", the Country Fire Service warns.
And firefighters predict "summer is coming with a vengeance".
CFS state co-ordinator Malim Watts said the fires on Eyre Peninsula should serve as a "big wake-up call".
The fires destroyed at least one home, 1800ha, 12 cabins, one caravan, a campervan, several sheds and four cars.
"This is one of the busiest starts we have had to the fire season in many years," Mr Watts said.
"It's a very big wake-up call for a lot of people. Summer has come with a vengeance."
Mr Watts also revealed yesterday high temperatures and the highest 24 months of rainfall on record meant a large northern area of the state was causing particular concern for the CFS, threatening to draw much-needed resources from more populated areas.
Units on standby for the vast region have been doubled.
Five heavy tankers have been placed in strategic locations and there are plans in place to fly in large numbers of firefighters at short notice.
A battle line from Renmark to Maree and Ceduna has been drawn, north of which are large areas of vegetation that have built up over three years because of higher than average rainfall.
Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (Bushfire CRC) deputy chief executive and research director Dr Richard Thornton warned the combination of increased vegetation in the northern grasslands and hotter conditions may herald one of the state's worst fire seasons in decades.
He said the rainfall and resulting growth appeared to be on a scale not seen in 40 years.
The warning came as Premier Jay Weatherill yesterday rejected a suggestion by Seven News that the CFS was not properly resourced because its helicopter had been asked to help provide information during the Eyre Peninsula fire on Sunday.
"I've asked the question directly of the chief fire officer whether he has everything he needs and he said he has," Mr Weatherill said.
Mr Weatherill dispatched Emergency Services Minister Jennifer Rankine and Community Services Minister Ian Hunter to the fire scene yesterday to assess the needs of the CFS and fire victims.
Mr Watts said the CFS battled 65 fires in South Australia on Sunday, nine of which were regarded as serious, including Tulka.
This included fires at Mambray Creek and Quorn in the Southern Flinders Ranges, Calca and Yalata on the state's West Coast and Kallora in the Mid North. A fire at Bramfield on the western Eyre Peninsula destroyed 850ha of grassland.
Three-month planning has identified a large commitment of resources will be needed to cover the vast northern area.
It includes around two thirds of the state and may require the movement of large numbers of firefighters and equipment. The CFS is drawing up plans to meet the threat, including an increased danger to firefighter safety.
The plan includes:
- BRINGING forward the fire season by two weeks in some areas.
- FATIGUE planning for machines and people which could affect safety.
- PLANNING for longer fire fighting times and longer mop-up because of remoteness of some areas and the increased vegetation.
- IDENTIFYING additional water sources to avoid access problems.
The latest fire season 2012-13 assessment issued by the CFS reveals it will incur "extraordinary costs" to battle fires in the large area of the state under threat, especially the use of spotter planes to issue public warnings.
Air services have already been identified as likely to be over the budget allocated for these resources by the Federal Government.
Other problems being planned for are the large distances required to travel for firefighters and equipment, refuelling problems and poor communications.
Also straining funding will be the need to transport heavy earthmoving equipment and the need to pay for operators to be on standby or ready on short notice.
While the fire services' focus is on remote parts of the state, authorities remain concerned about the potential for fires around Adelaide and the South-East, which historically is bushfire prone.
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