News State SA News Adelaide Hills bushfire has destroyed 86 homes, SA Premier says

Adelaide Hills bushfire has destroyed 86 homes, SA Premier says

This house at Lobethal was among dozens destroyed by fire. Photo: ABC News
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

South Australia’s Premier Steven Marshall says 86 homes have now been lost in the Cudlee Creek fire, which has been burning in the Adelaide Hills since Friday.

Mr Marshall said almost 500 outbuildings, hundreds of vehicles, livestock, pets and crops had been destroyed.

The fire has caused a smoke haze to settle across Adelaide this morning.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said the number of particles in the air from the smoke exceeded the national standard.

The fire claimed the life of Charleston man Ron Selth, 69, who was found dead at his property on Saturday.

Mr Marshall said the loss of life was “very sad” but he was relieved there were not more people killed.

“I am quite amazed that there has only been one fatality; the catastrophic conditions we had on Friday were just extraordinary,” Mr Marshall told ABC News Breakfast.

“The latest briefing I had was that [the number of homes lost] had climbed to 86 now.

“Almost 500 outbuildings and hundreds of vehicles [have been destroyed], as well as extensive losses in terms of livestock animals, pets and massive crop damage, massive damage to vineyards.”

Adelaide is enveloped in a thick smoke haze caused by the state’s bushfires. Photo: ABC News

About 200 blazes broke out amid the catastrophic conditions on Friday, including several which reached emergency warning level.

More than 40,000 hectares of land have been blackened by South Australia’s bushfires, which include a blaze on Kangaroo Island where looting has been reported.

“I did see on social media just a minute ago on the island that somebody’s property that was burnt has been looted, so I’m furious about that,” the island’s mayor Michael Pengilly said.

“There’s some evil people around.”

Residents across Adelaide have awoken to the strong smell of smoke from the bushfires.

The city’s CBD is barely visible from some inner suburbs.

“We’re seeing a lot of smoke right across the city this morning and we do have a road weather alert in place for reduced visibility,” Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Matt Bass said.

EPA science director Keith Baldry said the agency had advised people with respiratory conditions to remain indoors because air quality was “much worse than usual”.

“The smoke from the bushfires across all the metropolitan sample stations indicated levels probably double the standard for the smaller particulates, called PM2.5,” he said.

There is a severe fire danger rating today in the Mount Lofty Ranges, which includes the Adelaide Hills fireground.

“The Cudlee Creek fire is still uncontained,” CFS spokeswoman Ali Martin told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“We had some flare-ups yesterday which were concerning so we’ve sent water bombers in there as well as several ground crews to help contain those.

“Today we’ve got severe fire danger which will bring with it some higher winds and higher temperatures, so it’s certainly not over unfortunately.”