Sunday 22 December 2019

70 homes in Adelaide Hills destroyed in bushfires

Adelaide Hills bushfire 

destroys more than 70 homes

Twisted and charred remains of a home, amid burnt out gum trees

21 December, 2019

The number of homes destroyed in the Cudlee Creek bushfire in the Adelaide Hills has shot up to 72.

Key points:
  • The Cudlee Creek fire broke out in catastrophic conditions in the Adelaide Hills on Friday
  • It has destroyed 72 homes across the area
  • Smoke is causing poor air quality in Adelaide
  • South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has also confirmed that 404 "outbuildings" on properties and 227 vehicles have been destroyed.

The previous estimate for homes destroyed was 15.

It is also believed some buildings have been destroyed by fires on Kangaroo Island.

One person was found dead at Charleston in the Adelaide Hills on Saturday and several dozen people remain injured, but there have been no further injuries or loss of life.

The fires broke out in catastrophic conditions on Friday and remain uncontrolled.

Mr Marshall said it was a "very sad day" with "scenes of absolutely devastation" as families returned to their homes to find only rubble.

"If there is any good news, there has been no further fatality in SA and there has been no further … injury to personnel here in South Australia," he said.

Black and white dairy cows on grey burnt earth

Fire 'going' but not spreading further

Country Fire Service (CFS) incident controller Richard de Groot said the fire had now burnt through 25,000 hectares of land.

It was still categorised as "going" but had "no forward rate of spread".

Backburning has begun in the Kangaroo Creek area, east of Castambul and Montacute, causing plumes of smoke.

"We are getting a lot of concern about the fire breaking out but it is a planned event," Mr de Groot said.

About 300 firefighters are working on the fireground, he said.

A fire ban is in place for the Mount Lofty Ranges from Monday, in severe fire danger conditions.

Cudlee Creek Road, Fox Creek Road and Gorge Road are closed to all traffic.

Memories lost forever in fire

The Lobethal home Tina Zadow shares with her mother, Christel Willner, was destroyed in the blaze.

Ms Zadow said she had spent the whole day trying not to burst into tears.

She escaped to Adelaide with her dog and some paperwork.

"I didn't take a single photo," Ms Zadow said while crying.

"The family photos, the hundreds of my dad's slides that I was going to put into digital format and give to my brothers, and the photos from Germany from both sides of my parents that they rescued from the war — they're all gone."

Her son Josh stayed to fight the fire, sleeping on the driveway because it was the only thing not burning on the property.

"It doesn't look like a house anymore," she said.

"The walls have popped off. The floor's not there. It looks like a ramshackle old place when it was a beautiful home."

Smoke haze over Adelaide

A statewide smoke advice has also been issued after a number of reports of people experiencing a strong smell of smoke across South Australia.

The CFS said light winds overnight had caused the smoke from existing bushfires to spread across the state, impacting communities some distance from the firegrounds.

The Environment Protection Authority has rated the air quality in northern Adelaide as poor and western Adelaide and the CBD as fair.

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