The Country Fire Service (CFS) says the threat posed by a huge grass fire which ripped through part of South Australia’s south-east has reduced.

Key points:

  • The CFS says the size of the fire “rapidly” expanded within a short time
  • Multiple emergency warnings were issued, and an advice message remains in place
  • Power has been cut to properties in the area

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

It quickly reached the town of Lucindale and burned at least 16,000 hectares.

Multiple emergency warnings were earlier issued and there are fears homes have been destroyed, but the threat level has since been downgraded.

An advice message for Blackford, Avenue Range and Lucindale issued just after 9:00pm told locals to “stay alert, monitor local conditions and decide what you will do if the situation changes”.

“At this time there is no threat to life or property, and firefighters are attending this fire,” the CFS warning message states.

CFS state duty commander Brenton Hastie said after the fire rapidly grew, its rate of spread significantly slowed on Monday evening.

The grass fire is burning towards Lucindale.(Supplied: Nick McBride)

Mr Hastie earlier said there were “reports of structures being impacted in Lucindale”, and vision taken from a helicopter shows smouldering structures around the town.

Lucindale has a population of about 550 people and about 100 locals were forced to shelter in the town hall.

“We looked outside and the sky was full of smoke,” said one local resident.

The fire rapidly approached Lucindale, impacting structures.(ABC News)

Local deli owner Leanne Graetz said that, despite the threat to the town, she was “feeling safe” alongside other locals.

“I’m right in the main street now and it’s quite clear … there’s smoke all around us but it’s not actually affecting the township,” she told ABC Radio Adelaide.

Lucindale residents sought shelter in town.(Supplied)

Several roads were closed across the fire zone.

More than 40 fire trucks and six waterbombers, as well as support aircraft, have been deployed to battle the blaze, with the CFS bolstering resources by calling in more trucks and brigades from as far afield as the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Smoke can be seen over the Lucindale fire, which is threatening the town.(Supplied: Country Fire Service)

‘Incredibly difficult to control’

The cause of the fire — and the full extent of its impact on homes — remain unknown, and farmers are yet to assess livestock losses.

Some families in the fire’s path fled to Naracoorte, where a bushfire safe zone was set up.

Mr Hastie said that, at the height of the blaze, it was “incredibly difficult to control” and was “moving at a rapid rate of spread”.

“The terrain in that part of the world is broken up by areas that are difficult to access,” he said.


Lucindale resident Kim Corrigan, whose husband is fighting the fire, earlier said she could “see a heck of a lot of smoke” and was currently preparing to evacuate.

“This is the first time I’ve felt a little bit frightened of a fire,” she said.

Residents have been told to find shelter if they cannot leave.(Supplied: Nick McBride)

SA Power Networks spokesperson Paul Roberts said more than 3,100 properties lost power around the bushfire area.

“Current conditions prevent us from safely accessing our electricity network which will delay restoring power,” SA Power Networks’ website states.

Lucindale is an agricultural town about 345 kilometres south-east of Adelaide.(Supplied: Tegan Elliott)

Total fire bans are currently in place across most of SA, with an extreme fire danger rating for the state’s lower south east.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Simon Timcke said weather conditions would change during the evening, with westerly winds starting to bring cooler temperatures but “unfortunately no rain”.

“Once that cooler air is there then those south-westerly winds won’t be as strong as the north-westerly ones we’ve seen earlier today.”

The CFS deployed six water bombers to battle the grass fire burning towards Lucindale, in the south east.(Supplied: Hailey Brewster)