Between November 2019 and February 2020, bushfires burned across South Australia. At the same time, significant fires were burning across Australia, with the biggest impacts felt by New South Wales and Victoria. These fires have been called the Black Summer Bushfires. In South Australia, the fires resulted in more than 1180 homes, non-residential buildings, and facilities being destroyed or damaged. Sadly, three people died.

These large-scale bushfires burnt 278,603 hectares of land, severely impacting Yorketown, the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island and key industries including tourism, primary producers, viticulture and forestry.

The sheer size and scope of the fires means we are yet to fully realise the long-term impacts of the disaster on the environment, the economy and the health and wellbeing of the community.

From the beginning of the first fire, we have been working with affected communities to understand and meet their needs. This has involved immediate actions to provide support with shelter, food and other basic necessities, right through to working side-by-side with the affected communities to imagine and start building a new normal that allows them to thrive.

By the end of November 2020 state government had invested more than $79 million in grant programs and other initiatives to help people recover and rebuild. The public also rallied behind fire-affected communities by generously donating to the SA Bushfire Appeal, which saw nearly $8 million gifted to individuals, families and businesses to purchase personal and other needs, and more than $1 million gifted to community groups and organisations.

Reports

In December 2020 the Government of South Australia released its 2019-20 Bushfire Recovery Interim Report. This report tells the story of the Yorketown, Cudlee Creek, Kangaroo Island and other fires and the achievements of the early recovery phase across the four domains of recovery: social, economic, built environment and the natural environment.

The Report identifies the vision for recovery and establishes what must be achieved over the next three to five years, and the activity and assessment needed to monitor and evaluate progress.

It is supported by the community recovery plans developed by the communities of the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island.

The interim report will be supplemented by  a final report in mid-2021, and summary reports from the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island Local Recovery Coordinators as part of the transition to community-based recovery coordination.