As residents in the area of the Cherry Gardens bushfire begin to count the cost of the blaze that ripped through their properties, one local has described how her family was forced to take refuge in a cellar amid the “firestorm”.

Key points:

  • The Cherry Gardens bushfire has ripped through more than 2,500 hectares
  • Some residents have stayed put and defended their homes
  • Others have sought shelter at refuge points in Mount Barker and Strathalbyn

The Cherry Gardens fire, which started yesterday in extreme conditions, is still burning in an area south-east of Adelaide, and some on social media have likened the sight of the blaze to a “volcano”.

Jessica Jones’s Mount Bold Road property came under threat from the fire last night.

Her two young sons took shelter in the family’s cellar while she and her adult daughter used fire hoses to protect the home, and her husband protected the border of the property.

She said she was relieved when her husband emerged from the smoke.

The Cherry Gardens fire at Scott Creek.(Supplied: Ella Germein)

Ms Jones said the family managed to save their animals.

“We built our house, and so we built it to be defendable and are very thankful that we planned an underground component,” she said.

“Even with all of our double-glazed, sealed doors, windows, everything, the house was smoky, but … our cellar was pretty clear so we set up mattresses and our boys slept down there with a few of their favourite chooks and their precious border collie.”

Ella Germein captured photos of the fire approaching her Scott Creek property.

“[We’re] just sitting and waiting but fingers crossed the weather stays put and no crazy winds,” she said.

Ella Germein watches as the Cherry Gardens fire nears her home at Scott Creek.(Supplied: Ella Germein)

John from Bradbury said his property was untouched by the 1980 and 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, but this fire had come up the hill close to his house.

The 90-year-old said his house was being protected by a sprinkler system and a team of CFS volunteers.

“I feel safe because I’ve prepared this house very carefully,” he said.

“It’s a stone house — it has nothing on the outside which will burn — a sealed metal roof, all the windows are shuttered, so no fire can get to any windows and break glass and get in.”

Jess Shelbourne and James Fuller at Woodcroft yesterday.(ABC News: Brittany Evins)

Jess Shelbourne watched the fire from near her house at Woodcroft, on Adelaide’s southern flank.

“It’s a little bit scary just to see it all go up,” she said.

“We’ve got friends and family around this area so it’s more so just looking out for them, making sure their properties are OK, making sure they don’t need anything moved off their property.”

Refuge for people and animals

Many Adelaide Hills residents in the emergency zone spent the night at Mount Barker Oval, which is a bushfire refuge point.

Chloe Turner camped out with her children and some of the family’s pets, but her husband stayed back.

She said despite last summer’s devastating bushfires, it was the first time she could recall a bushfire getting close to her home.

Maddy Ives, who came to help people sheltering at the Mount Barker Oval.(ABC News)

Echunga local Ian evacuated with his family and pets last night and slept in his car at Mount Barker Oval.

He said he decided to leave when he noticed black leaves falling in his backyard.

“You know we’ve have a few near misses — just last week we had a grassfire but that was put out very quickly — but this one was black smoke, and when you see black smoke as opposed to white, you know it’s a big fire,” he said.

People also brought horses to shelter at the Strathalbyn Polo Club.

A woman and a girl feed a pony sheltering at Mount Barker Oval.(ABC News)

Ryan Marchioro lives on a 6,500-square-metre property in Aldgate.

He was planning to get his sheep and dogs out and head to a friend’s place at Mount Barker for the night.

“I only just moved up to Aldgate probably about a year ago,” he said.

“It’s surreal — you see it all on TV and all that and obviously we had the Woodside fires earlier last year so you didn’t think it’d get closer but it is.”

Ryan Marchioro left Aldgate to stay in Mount Barker.(ABC News)

Missing dingo recovered

Captive animals at the Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary were removed after the fire flared up yesterday.

A dingo called Cletus ran away after it jumped out of a vehicle as it was being transported to shelter — but was later found at Wistow.

Cletus the dingo went missing during the fire.(Facebook: Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary)

“Thank you to the public who drove around last night looking for him, thank you to those that shared our post, thank you to the radio stations who allowed us to report the situation on air,” the sanctuary posted on Facebook.

Sanctuary co-owner David Cobbold said Cletus was not dangerous.