Authorities also expect that number to continue to grow with more homes likely to have been razed both in the Hills and in the fires on Kangaroo Island.
“It’s scenes of absolute devastation, families in shock as they return to their homes and all they find is rubble,” Premier Steven Marshall said.
“So extraordinarily difficult times.”
Adelaide Hills Country Fire Service incident controller Richard de Groot said 300 firefighters remained on the ground where 25,000 hectares had been burnt inside a 127-kilometre perimeter.
He said there was some increased fire activity on the southern flank on Sunday, where two homes were saved, but the majority of the fire ground now had no forward spread.
He said the area of most concern centred on difficult terrain around the Kangaroo Creek Reservoir at Castambul.
“So in that area there we’ve decided to implement a backburn of about 450 hectares,” he said.
“It is going to plan recognising that it is a very challenging area to work in and that over the next couple of days we have some more deteriorating weather conditions from a fire perspective.”
Those conditions include both rising temperatures and rising winds.
Country Fire Service deputy chief officer Andrew Stark said there were still concerns for a fire burning on the western end of Kangaroo Island where one house was confirmed lost.
Stark said the losses there were likely to rise considering assessment teams had not yet been able to access some areas.
Marshall said the total damage bill from the SA fires, which were sparked during catastrophic conditions on Friday, was likely to be very significant.
But he said the focus now remained on bringing the remaining areas of concern under control.
He said the government was also working on the appointment of a disaster recovery co-ordinator.
The premier said if there was any good news to come from the current situation It was the fact that there were no reports of further fatalities after confirmation 69-year-old Ron Selth died while trying to defend his property at Charleston.
A further three people remained in hospital with burns, one of those in a serious condition.
Across the whole of SA, the area burnt by the fires remained at 40,000 hectares.
Stark said despite the widespread damage, there was feeling of gratitude from the community for the work done by emergency services over the past three days.
“Amongst the sadness for the loss there is great relief and thankfulness from the community for the work that all the fire agencies have done to protect lives and properties,” he said.
But he said the CFS still had concerns about the number of people who stayed to try to defend their properties.
“We know that some people chose to stay and defend and while they may have been successful, the people that I have spoken to have said they will never stay again under those conditions,” he said.
“When we have catastrophic conditions in the Adelaide Hills the risk to lives and property is at its greatest.”
– AAPJump to next article