Country Fire Service (CFS) crews in the Adelaide Hills are being helped by favourable weather conditions including rain and cooler temperatures, as they assess the damage from the Cherry Gardens bushfire.

Key points:

  • Firefighters and residents are mopping up following the Cherry Gardens bushfire
  • Heavy rain moved across South Australia on Monday evening
  • Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing

Two homes, 19 outbuildings and two vehicles were lost in the blaze that burnt more than 2,700 hectares of land south-east of Adelaide amid extreme heat, before it was declared contained last night.

Rain began falling over the area yesterday afternoon, with Adelaide going on to record its wettest January day in 44 years.

Almost 30 millimetres of rain were recorded at the West Terrace CBD weather station in the 24 hours until 9:00am today, causing minor flooding in the western and inner-southern suburbs.

“Yesterday — with that 29.8mm — was our wettest January day since 1977, so it’s been quite a long time since we’ve had a January day at least that’s been this wet,” said Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Bonnie Haselgrove.

There were even higher falls in northern parts of the state as thunderstorms moved across, with more than 50mm near Leigh Creek.

Closer to the fireground, more than 36mm fell in Aldgate — the wettest 24 hours there since June 2019.

A house destroyed in the Cherry Gardens bushfire.(ABC News: Isabel Dayman)

CFS volunteers are keeping watch for flare-ups and embers on the fireground, along with staff from SA Water and National Parks.

CFS incident controller Scott Turner said while the rain had been welcome, it had been a hindrance for backburning efforts.

“Once the rain abates and the moisture dries out a bit in the next 24 hours, we will commence burning operations on the northern area,” he said.

Minor flooding on Goodwood Road at Westbourne Park after rain on Monday.(ABC News: Eugene Boisvert)

Mr Turner warned that the reopening roads should not be viewed as an invitation for people who are not local to travel to the area.

“Please pay respect to those that are dealing with this fire and we will have a considerable volume of traffic from fire service and support agency personnel as we continue to assess the scene over coming days.”

Bushland near the entrance to Scott Creek Conservation Park blackened by the Cherry Gardens bushfire.(ABC News: Isabel Dayman)

More residents tell of lucky escapes

The fire reached the boundary of George Wood’s Scott Creek property on Sunday night.

He said the flames made the hills look “like New York at night” — but they never got closer than 200 metres away from his house.

“We couldn’t go into the bush, so we basically had to sit and wait for it to come to the fence line and hope there wasn’t a wind change or other factors,” he said.

“We were very concerned about spotting as well but … the wind was low, which was our saving factor.”

Scott Creek resident George Wood prepared his home with pumps and sprinklers.(ABC News: Isabel Dayman)

Mylor resident Susan said she was experiencing “mixed emotions”.

She lost her home in a bushfire in the 1980s but yesterday discovered her house was still intact.

“It was like somebody said, ‘OK, you’ve had enough, here’s some to help’.”


Investigations into what sparked the bushfire are continuing.

Senior Constable Mick Abbott said police were seeking any information about suspicious behaviour in the area on Sunday.

“Detectives are after anyone that may have been in that area between 3:00pm and 4:30pm in the Cherry Gardens, Dorset Vale, or Clarendon areas that may have seen anything suspicious or may have been just driving in the area and may have dashcam [footage],” he said.