26 September 2023

Time to get ready for coming fire season

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The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) has called on every member of the South Australian community to take the upcoming fire season seriously by preparing now how to survive it.

Warning that being complacent isn’t the way to survive, the Service said that despite recent major fire events and media coverage, one in five South Australians are living in bushfire risk areas without the faintest idea of what to do or how to survive a fire alive.

The CFS said reducing complacency and increasing preparedness is the objective of this year’s ‘Be Bushfire Ready’ campaign which the Service launched at the beginning of this month (30 October).

Chief Officer of CFS, Brett Loughlin said South Australians should not underestimate the importance of having a Bushfire Survival Plan, as current weather patterns around the State are of particular concern to the CFS.

“It may be wet, but the current weather patterns we are seeing across the State are causing exponential growth of vegetation, which means there will be more fuel to burn when the weather inevitably dries out,” Chief Officer Loughlin said.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking there is no bushfire risk in South Australia this season,” he said. “Much of the State is seeing significant fuel growth, with some areas experiencing 3x the normal growth of fuels such as spear grass.”

Mr Loughlin said the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands have seen their first significant fires of the season already and the Service was also starting to see large parts of the State – particularly up North – dry out with grass curing levels already hitting 90% and above, which is very concerning coming into the bushfire season.”

Minister for Emergency Services Joe Szakacs said the key to bushfire survival was knowing you might be at risk and to prepare for the unexpected when a bushfire starts.

“A significant proportion of the at-risk population are unaware they live in a bushfire risk area or are complacent about actively preparing for a bushfire in their area, and this behaviour needs to change,” Mr Szakacs said.

“This campaign prompts those people to consider all possible scenarios when a bushfire starts,” he said.

“What if the roads are blocked? What if the power cuts out? What if you’re not at home but your family and pets are?”

Mr Szakacs said preparing for the bushfire season should include simple activities such as checking the daily weather forecast, familiarising yourself with the new Australian Fire Danger Ratings Systems, and knowing what can and can’t be done on Total Fire Ban days,.

“Most importantly, we want every South Australian to complete their Bushfire Survival Plan and have the Alert SA app downloaded on their mobile devices,” he said.

Acting Chief Officer of the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), Paul Fletcher said all South Australians were at risk of being impacted by bushfire, including those living on the urban fringe.

“Bushfires do not put themselves out once they hit urban boundaries and many homes have been lost when sparks and burning embers travel ahead of a fire and land on homes,” Acting CO Fletcher said.

“It is essential for people living in the outskirts of metropolitan Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills and some of our larger country towns, to prepare their homes to increase the chances of your home surviving a bushfire, even if you plan to leave early.”

For anyone yet to be prepared for the fire season, useful information and advice can be accessed at the CFS website at this PS News link.

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