Updated November 26, 2015 12:52:47

Map: Hamley Bridge 5401

In just a matter of hours the golden plains north of Adelaide have been transformed into scorched earth as a deadly bushfire tore through the area with frightening speed and ferocity.


Towns, livestock and houses all went up in flames, leaving two people dead and a lot more fighting for the lives. Here’s what happened exactly where.

Hamley Bridge

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The house of Hamley Bridge resident Paul Vogue goes up in flames during the SA bushfires.Infographic: Paul Vogue’s property at Hamley Bridge was destroyed by fire on November 25, 2015. (ABC News)

A 56-year-old woman from Hamley Bridge died in the fires, which swept via the township of about 600 folks.

The ABC understands the woman’s body was located in a burned-out motor automobile.

Resident Paul Vogue, who lost his house, mentioned almost everything was gone in 20 seconds.

“It just came more than and it just absolutely took every little thing out, just the whole lot,” Mr Vogue stated.

“Two homes right here, the barn, vehicles, almost everything it just took it straight out, all in a matter of 20 seconds.

“It was just a horrendous fireball that you just would not know what it was until you saw it … it was devastating.”

A Darwin man watched his wheat farm on the outskirts of Hamley Bridge “explode in a fireball” by way of CCTV cameras at the house and says his residence survived the bushfire due to the fact he activated a sprinkler technique with his mobile telephone.

Charles Darwin University vice chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks says he discovered out about the fire from Nation Fire Service (CFS) messages and friends.

“I have my farm technologically connected, I can look at CCTV cams on my telephone, I have irrigation systems on remote manage,” Professor Maddocks, an agricultural scientist, said.

He said he watched as “all of a sudden almost everything went dark, then [there] was a red fireball … every thing just turned in a split second”.

He said it took only “a matter of minutes” for the wheat crop to be engulfed.

Luckily, the home escaped, some thing Professor Maddocks stated was thanks to the remotely activated sprinkler systems and the vigilance of his neighbours.


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The fire started at Pinery, between Mallala and Balaklava, about midday on Wednesday and travelled 50 kilometres in just 4 hours.

A Pinery man was killed in the fires, SA Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed. The ABC understands his body was discovered in a paddock.


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Massive fires threaten houses, cars in South AustraliaVideo: Huge fires threaten homes, vehicles in South Australia (ABC News)

Mallala farmer Peter March stated about a dozen farmhouses have been destroyed, and most probably all the farm animals on those properties had been killed.

“Our property right here and home and sheds right here have survived, but every square inch of ground I think has been burnt,” he stated.

“We’ve got neighbours who haven’t got any homes and haven’t got any stock – we’ve got neighbours who are a lot worse off than we are.”

The size and speed of the fire have been fearsome, residents said.

A view from Mallala as a bushfire burns near the town, November 25 2015.Infographic: A view from Mallala as a bushfire burns close to the town, November 25 2015. (891 ABC Adelaide)

Mark Gardiner, who owns a residence about a single kilometre from the firefront, mentioned the blaze was jumping hundreds of metres.

“It would be fairly hard to quit in this wind, it is jumping ahead most likely 300 metres at a time.”


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Wasleys residents look at the ruins of their house, which was destroyed in a Bushfire.Infographic: Heatbreak for the residents of a home lost at Wasleys in a bushfire, November 25 2015. (Tony Hill: ABC)

In the tiny town of Wasleys, the nearby bowls club, post office and one particular of the state’s largest piggeries had been gutted.

Locals on social media estimate that as several as 9,000 pigs could be dead.

Andrew, who functions at the piggery, stated he and his colleagues had no selection but to evacuate.

“It was quite scary seeing it coming over the hill coming towards perform,” he said.

“We had been there with firefighters prepared to fight it and we just turned and ran.

“It was massive. I consider my work’s gone or at least the majority of it.”

A single resident, Dave Walker, described how he saved his property.

“I sooner or later got by means of the back routes due to the fact the cops would not let me by means of,” he mentioned.

“I got to my joint and the shed’s ablaze, all the yard’s ablaze. So I did not know what to do. I didn’t have any water to my property.

“A gentleman came previous and helped me repair exactly where it had burnt the water meter.

“We got that fixed and ended up receiving some water to the back of my home. Some firies helped me with obtaining it so it doesn’t get to the home.”


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Property owners Jim and Lorraine inspect their destroyed house near Roseworthy in the mid-north of South Australia.Infographic: Property owners Jim and Lorraine inspect their destroyed property near Roseworthy in the mid-north of South Australia, on Wednesday November 25, 2015. (AAP: Brendton Edwards)

Some properties had been destroyed around Roseworthy, and the University of Adelaide said the fire broken some of the paddocks and fencing at its Roseworthy campus.


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 A shed burns at the entrance to Freeling in the mid-north of South Australia,Infographic:  A shed burns at the entrance to Freeling in the mid-north of South Australia, Wednesday Nov. 25, 2015. Two men and women have been confirmed killed, with fears held for a third, in a bushfire burning out of manage north of Adelaide. (AAP: Brenton Edwards)
External Link: Structures burn near Freeling

Freeling resident Terry Curtis lost his garage and mentioned his neighbours lost their house.

“They are quite devastated they lost their entire house. I just spoke with them a even though ago. He come down and was providing me a hand.”

Mr Curtis said he fled 1st to Kapunda, then Eudunda and then Morgan to escape the flames.

ABC journalist Nathan Stitt drove by means of Freeling on Thursday morning: “On 1 side of the road there were homes – I must say sheds and structures – that had been severely broken and then on the other side of the road, houses and properties that had been just fine.”


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Brendan Moten, who owns a bakery in Kapunda, told AAP he fled his rural house and sheltered with his family members in town as the bushfire raged about them.

“A lot of people had been gathered in the major street and there was smoke and ash and it was Armageddon for a even though,” he told AAP.

“I really feel fortunate. Our location was below threat for a even though … It was heading our way but it didn’t get there. It went about.”

Light Regional Council Mayor Bill O’Brien said “the sky lit up and it was very frightening”.

“I really feel definitely gutted, you know. I love this area. I just don’t know exactly where to start off, what to do initial,” he stated.


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George Hooker filmed the bushfire as he drove through an area near Tarlee.Video: George Hooker filmed the bushfire as he drove by means of an area near Tarlee. (ABC News)

Clare resident George Hooker saw a property burn down and had flames “lapping” at his auto in a terrifying ordeal close to Tarlee.

Mr Hooker recorded the fire’s activity when he reached Hamley Bridge, police officers had closed access.

“I just continued to travel towards Adelaide along the Horrocks Highway because there were no road blocks,” he stated.

“And ahead of I knew it … there was fire up the side of the road … lapping up my vehicle, gale force winds. There were cinders blowing up all over my car. I could not see in front of me from the thick smoke.

“It was fairly scary since just passing by means of these flames, I truly swore at myself and thought, what am I performing right here? I shouldn’t be right here … how did I get in this scenario?

“And then … I was fairly frightened.”

He said he chose to maintain going and came across a property burning down.

“I pulled more than … and waited until the residence burnt down generally and then the police came. As I got previous, there have been two automobiles that had had a head-on [collision].”

He mentioned he was later pulled over by SES and CFS volunteers, who had a dog with them.

“They asked me to take the dog to the Roseworthy police station.

“The dog was one of the ones rescued from the house that just burnt down. I pulled into a service station [down the road] and it just so occurred the owners have been there.

“The lady was really distraught … and her husband was a massive burly guy but he gave me a large hug. So I just left the dog with them and kept travelling to Adelaide.”


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The town of Owen is on the northern edge of the impacted area, and Owen Road has been closed.

A lot more on this story:

Subjects: fires, bushfire, hamley-bridge-5401, mallala-5502, wasleys-5400, roseworthy-5371, freeling-5372, tarlee-5411, owen-5460

Very first posted November 26, 2015 12:43:48

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