Australian News

South Australia wine industry hit by bushfire, one-third of vineyards razed

The South Australian government has established an emergency relief fund to help people directly affected by the devastating Adelaide Hills bushfire, including the state’s famed wine industry.

The incredibly fast-moving blaze wiped out a third of the region’s vineyards when it tore through on Saturday.

Jared Stringer, vice-chair of the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, told the ABC they were still assessing the damage but a number of well-known wineries had been destroyed.

“What we do know is approximately 1100 hectares of grapevines are burnt,” he said.

“That makes up approximately one-third of Adelaide Hills production, so for any industry to lose one-third overnight it’s going to be incredibly devastating.”

So far, 87 homes in the region have been destroyed, along with almost 500 other buildings.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said the $1 million fund would go some way towards helping people to start rebuilding their lives.

“We know South Australians give generously in tough times and we’re encouraging South Australian businesses and community members to consider making a donation,” he said.

“The loss of property and land across the state has been immense and in the coming months, the community can use financial donations to help rebuild and get back on their feet.”

The fund will be managed by a five-member committee and will distribute financial donations to the families and businesses who have lost their homes and livelihoods in the disaster.

About 175 firefighters are still working on the blaze as efforts continue to eliminate the danger of flare-ups within its 127-km perimeter.

A watch and act advice remains in place with the Country Fire Service warning of unpredictable conditions.

The ferocious bushfire claimed the life of engineer Ron Selth, whose body was found inside the charred remains of his Charleston on Saturday.

“He will be remembered for his incredible, sometimes injury-causing hugs and will be deeply missed by his family and his many friends,” the 69-year-old’s family said in a statement.

“Some people give firm hugs – I don’t know what’s beyond firm, but that’s what Dad occasionally delivered. When he gave a hug, he meant it.”

Another Adelaide Hills man – noted horse trainer John Glatz – sustained significant burns while trying to defend his Woodside home from flames.

That followed news on Friday night of 23 firefighters and several police suffering injuries while responding to emergencies in SA, with one firey rushed to hospital in a serious condition.

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