News Story

Adelaide Latter-day Saints Help Restore Fire Devastated Areas

The bushfires that have ravaged Australia in December and January have been tragic and devastating, and the scale of destruction to property, landscapes and human life is difficult to comprehend. In South Australia, three major fires caused widespread devastation.


The Kangaroo Island “Ravine” fire tore through more than 200,000 hectares with a perimeter of over 600kms. First reported on 30th December, this fire is still burning but is contained, and has destroyed many properties, including the world renown Flinders Chase National Park, its Visitors Centre, and many other well-known tourism localities. The fire has burnt almost half of the island. Two property owners were killed fighting this massive fire.

The Keilira fire in the south east of the state burnt almost 23,000 hectares from a 130 km perimeter, and destroyed 3 properties and thousands of livestock.

The Cudlee Creek fire, in the Adelaide Hills (approximately 30 km from the city) started on 20th December and destroyed 87 homes, 500 other buildings, numerous vehicles, farming infrastructure and many farm and native animals, over a 25,000 hectare fire ground with a 127 km perimeter. One third of the region’s renowned grape growing production was destroyed, along with many hectares of primary production, native and commercial forests. Sadly, one local resident lost his life fighting the fire. The state government declared this fire a state emergency.

In the midst of this disaster, opportunities for service are found. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Adelaide found that just by ‘turning up’, they have provided relief and much needed assistance to property owners impacted by the Cudlee Creek fire. Four service projects have been organised and undertaken to date; the most recent being on the Australia Day public holiday (27th January, 2020) in which the Church's invitation to Come and Help was accepted by approximately 80 church members. Gathering at Lobethal under the direction of senior local church leader John Orth from the Firle Stake Presidency (diocese), they were organised into teams to work on six properties, labouring throughout the day to clear damaged fence lines, cut down fallen trees, and remove as much debris as possible.

"I can't think of a better way to spend Australia Day! It was great to be out doing something meaningful to help our neighbours in need: those who we didn't actually know until we arrived at their properties. Together with other members of the local community, our church members provided much needed relief and were a great example of forgetting self and serving others", commented President Orth.

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