There were scary scenes near Adelaide Oval on Tuesday night when New Year’s Eve fireworks sparked a fire on the River Torrens.
During the Adelaide Strikers’ Big Bash clash with Sydney Thunder, the 9pm fireworks started a blaze in Elder Park, just metres from Adelaide Oval.
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Thousands of revellers gathered to watch the fireworks were left shocked when the flames reportedly reached around eight metres in height.
The fire was eventually extinguished by a fireworks technician, drawing cheers and applause from those watching on.
But some social media users weren’t impressed that fireworks displays went ahead during the bushfire crisis engulfing the country.
This is the year to end fireworks. A fire started near the river Torrens during the fireworks last night. Our climate is far too dangerous for fireworks now; and there are alternatives. Marvellous light shows... https://t.co/PjrLR3lPRM— 💧Dame Carolyn Janson (@CarolynJanson) December 31, 2019
The New Year's Eve family fireworks at Elder Park in Adelaide's CBD almost ended in disaster when a section of reeds along the River Torrens caught fire last night. #AustralianFires https://t.co/29tlLg9GXP— David Marler (@Qldaah) January 1, 2020
Wow, didn't see that coming. The height of stupidity, arrogance and ignorance. At least Nero gave a musical performance to the people while Rome burned.— 5150 (@Fairsuckothesav) December 31, 2019
Well fireworks started a fire outside Adelaide Oval tonight at the big bash... but let’s just keep lighting them all around the country all is good 🙄— Toby Owen (@TobyOwen4) December 31, 2019
The unexpected #Adelaide #NewYearsEve fireworks fire was quickly doused by a techie armed with a hose, which drew the applause of the crowd. 12am fireworks still going ahead as scheduled. Story soon via @theTiser. pic.twitter.com/nkHBX2TPzC— Sean Fewster (@SeanFewster) December 31, 2019
The fireworks displays, which are a major tourist attraction, had faced political and community opposition across the country, leading Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore to issue a scathing assessment of the federal government's climate change record.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and a petition signed by 275,000 people had called for the iconic Sydney fireworks to be scrapped and funds redirected to drought and bushfire relief.
But Ms Moore reiterated much of the event's budget was allocated before Christmas, the event generates more than $100 million for the NSW economy, and the council had already donated $620,000 to bushfire and drought-affected communities.
"The compelling issue here is climate change," she told reporters on Tuesday.
"Australia is burning, our national parks and our native animals are being decimated, and our communities are being devastated. People have lost homes, people have died, firefighters have been killed defending communities.
"As the driest continent on earth we're at the forefront of accelerating global warming. What is happening is a wake-up call for our governments to start making effective contributions to reducing global emissions."
Thunder win thriller over Strikers
Inside the ground, the Sydney Thunder survived a stunning late blitz from Rashid Khan to win a nail-biter against Adelaide, joining the Strikers at the top of the BBL table in the process.
Coming to the crease with his side in dire straits at 7-118 and needing an unlikely 51 off the last four overs to haul in the Thunder's 5-168, Rashid (40 off 18 balls) launched a savage late counterattack in front of 41,414 fans.
Rashid smoked three sixes in his thrilling knock before he was run out as he dropped his bat while desperately attempting a second run to retain strike, with five required off two balls.
With four then needed off the last delivery, Wes Agar attempted to ramp Chris Morris but missed and was then run out trying to sneak a bye.
Jake Weatherald (52) held things together superbly earlier after the Strikers started disastrously when Phil Salt (duck) and Matt Short (six) holed out cheaply before in-form Strikers captain Alex Carey feathered South African Morris to keeper Matt Gilkes for 19.
It left the Strikers reeling at 3-36 inside the powerplay.
When Jon Wells departed for 26, Adelaide were 4-99 but they remained an outside chance while Weatherald was in.
Circumspect early given the carnage at the other end, Weatherald opened his shoulders and clobbered leg-spinner Jono Cook for three sixes in the 10th over.
Weatherald crunched a free hit for six before holing out the next ball, lofting Daniel Sams' slower ball to Chris Green at long on.
When impressive tweaker Arjun Nair (2-19) snared Cam Valente and Cam White in the space of three balls, the home side looked cooked before Rashid produced some late magic which wasn't quite enough to maintain the Strikers' unbeaten record in this year's BBL and in New Year's Eve fixtures.