A burning hay shed in moonlight near Roseworthy in South Australia. Photo: Carl Saville
A burning hay shed in moonlight near Roseworthy in South Australia. Photo: Carl Saville

Almost 80 homes lost in deadly South Australian fires

ALMOST 80 homes and more than 160 sheds have been destroyed in the South Australian bushfires which also claimed to lives.

The blaze, known as the Pinery fire, has been downgraded from watch and act to advice level overnight as firefighters gained the upper hand, the ABC reported.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) said 75 per cent of the fire had been contained.

Roads in the fire ground have been reopened by SA Police, allowing residents to return to their homes and assess any damage.

A man who lost his life fighting the fires was named as 69-year-old farmer Allan Tiller from Pinery, who was described as a "terrific, community-minded man".

Janet Hughes, 56, from Hamley Bridge also died as the fire swept across the lower northern region of the state, north of Adelaide, while 19 people have been injured.

The fire, north of Adelaide, has seen 16 people taken to hospital, five of whom were listed as serious or critical.

The blaze burnt around towns including Owen, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee, Freeling, Wasleys, Kapunda and Greenock.

On Wednesday it raged across 90,000ha of grass.

A piggery with about 2000 sows was lost along with the bowling club at Wasleys.

A farmer had a lucky escape after his mate urged him to leave his house as the deadly blaze approached.

Freeling farmer Tom Shanahan said he arrived at his friend's house and found him inside with the air conditioning on.

"He was actually having a sleep and I said 'Mate, you'd better get in the ute and get the hell out of here'," Shanahan told ABC radio.

The loss of life in South Australia follows four deaths in a bushfire in Western Australia last week when a local farmer and three tourists became trapped by an inferno in the Esperance area.

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