Evacuation happens when you move to a safer location and then return home.

We undertake an evacuation to ensure that you are safe and free from the risk of death, injury or harm.

In South Australia the Country Fire Service and the Metropolitan Fire Service have the power to direct an evacuation under the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005.

The South Australia Police and other emergency services have the power to evacuate under the Emergency Management Act 2004.

The agency responsible for managing the incident will only make a decision to evacuate if there is time and the resources to manage an evacuation safely.

South Australia's Police and Emergency Services prefer not to evacuate during a fast moving bushfire unless there is plenty of time and resources to manage an evacuation.


There are different types of evacuations:

  • Immediate evacuation - when a sudden hazard forces you to leave immediately, with little or no warning and limited preparation time. A decision to do this should always be based on a risk assessment that determines:
    1. the threat to life or injury is likely
    2. staying is a greater risk than leaving
    3. you can leave relatively safely
  • Pre-warned evacuation - follows reliable information that prompts a decision to undertake a controlled and managed evacuation. We prefer this option.
  • Self-evacuation - when you, your family or a community group decide to move away from an area that may be or has been impacted by an emergency.


The State's Emergency Management Agencies prefer that:

  • you decide whether to stay or leave before you are threatened by an emergency,
  • we only make the decision to evacuate or recommend evacuation when it is evident that loss of life or injury is imminent and almost certain,
  • you evacuate as early as possible, late evacuations may add to the risk of staying,
  • if you evacuate you return to your properties as early as practical.