Lucindale locals have been left counting the cost of a grassfire that burned through swathes of land around the area in South Australia’s south-east on Monday.

Key points:

  • A fire near Lucindale has burned through 16,800 hectares of land, the CFS says
  • There were fears homes had been destroyed, with vision showing smouldering structures around the town
  • The cause is undetermined

The fire began early on Monday afternoon in hot and windy extreme fire danger conditions at Blackford, near Mount Scott Conservation Park, not far from Kingston SE.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) issued multiple emergency warnings to people around Lucindale, about 345 kilometres south-east of Adelaide, when the grassfire began burning in an easterly direction towards the town.

The fire was downgraded to “advice” level about 9:00pm on Monday, and the CFS this morning said it no longer posed a threat to life or property.

SA Police has confirmed it is investigating the cause of the fire which has resulted in “significant losses to livestock and fencing”.

Today’s fire danger rating for the lower south-east is very high, with a top of 30C forecast in Naracoorte.

There were fears homes had been destroyed, with vision taken from a helicopter on Monday afternoon showing smouldering structures around the town.

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The fire sent huge plumes of smoke skywards as it approached Lucindale.

Although authorities were yet to confirm how many buildings had been destroyed, CFS state duty commander Brenton Hastie yesterday said there were “reports of structures being impacted in Lucindale”.


The CFS estimated the fire had burned through about 16,800 hectares.

Deputy state controller Ken Hall said conditions were much better today.

He said the cause of the fire was unknown.

“We have nothing significant that’s poking out at this point so it’s really unclear,” he said.

Local MP Nick McBride said he understood at least one family home was lost at Avenue Range, along with up to 2,000 sheep and 200 cattle.

“We also lost the old Avenue store. The old church or a school at Avenue was burnt out, as well,” he said.

“They’re the difficult, iconic type of losses we had, including a family home, and the other losses would have been just sheds and haystacks.”

He said the fire “stopped dead” once it reached the fringe of Lucindale, leaving the field days site untouched.

The grassfire reached close to Lucindale, which hosts the South East Field Days, usually held every March.(ABC News: Sarah Mullins)

Lucindale resident Shirley Solomon said the wind yesterday “was so, so strong”.

“It was quite frightening, and overall it’s such a big loss to the community and surrounding areas,” she said.

Electricity out in area

Power was cut to about 3,100 homes in the area, according to SA Power Networks spokesperson Paul Roberts.

On Monday evening, Mr Roberts said it was unlikely that crews would be able to gain access until 7:00am Tuesday, or until the CFS deemed it safe.

“We believe the outage is caused by the fire activity; we don’t know the specific cause yet,” he said.

“Fire can cause outages from smoke, from the kind of winds that blow up debris, or even fire damage.”

At one point, about 100 Lucindale residents sheltered in the town hall.

A blackened field just outside of Lucindale.(ABC News: Sarah Mullins)

Local Ronnie Dix said the fire burnt its way right to the town.

“Around the outsides, yeah,” he said.

“I mean, really, if you’re a poor animal in the paddock, I don’t think there will be many sheep that will survive.

Forty-five fire trucks and six waterbombers, as well as support aircraft, were deployed to battle the blaze, with the CFS calling in more trucks and brigades from as far afield as the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Department of Environment and Water and farm firefighters helped.

The blaze broke out amid total statewide fire bans, with the nearby south-east town of Naracoorte hitting 39.3 degrees Celsius at 2:18pm.