On 2 January 2015, fire broke out at Sampson Flat, about 38 kilometres north-west of Adelaide. The fire travelled southeast towards the Kersbrook township and across the Mount Lofty Ranges towards the Adelaide Hills.
At 8.30am the following day, the bushfire was declared a ‘major emergency,’ giving the South Australia Police and emergency services additional authority to manage the event and control access in and out of the area.
More than 500 firefighters, including volunteers from New South Wales and Victoria, together with 14 aircraft and two air cranes, assisted local South Australian crews in fighting the fire. The fire caused major damage at Kersbrook, One Tree Hill, Humbug Scrub, Mount Crawford, Birdwood, Gumeracha, Kenton Valley, Cudlee Creek and Inglewood.
Thunderstorms during the afternoon of 7 January sparked new grass fires from lightning, while rain over some parts of the existing fireground made it easier to control the fire.
In the early hours of 8 January, the South Australian Country Fire Service announced that the fire had been completely brought under control, though crews remained to extinguish the remaining hot spots.
Extensive rainfall across South Eastern Australia on 9 and 10 January significantly reduced the risk of further flare ups from hot spots.
The bushfire burnt through 12,500 hectares over six days, killed more than 900 animals and destroyed sheds, farms and 27 homes. There were no deaths but 134 people, mainly firefighters, were injured. The Country Fire Service (CFS) said firefighters faced the worst conditions since the deadly Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.
The Insurance Council of Australia reported claims totalling $24.9 million shortly after the fire.