Fire danger season around the corner

Region 3 commander Ray Jackson said fire danger season will be brought forward three weeks this year. Photo: Emma Zirkel.
Region 3 commander Ray Jackson said fire danger season will be brought forward three weeks this year. Photo: Emma Zirkel.

With fire danger season pushed forward two weeks in the Murraylands, due to dry conditions in the region, SA CFS (Country Fire Services) are urging local to be vigilant in their preparation.

People need to bring the preparation of their properties, going in to the season, forward."

Ray Jackson

Region 3 commander Ray Jackson said the reason why the fire danger season had been brought forward to November 1 was prompted by the dry conditions, which are not expected to improve over the coming months. 

“It is expected that this summer will be hotter and drier than usual so people need to bring the preparation of their properties, going in to the season, forward,” Mr Jackson said.

“The things people can do is to start removing any fuel or scrub around their properties in order to create a defendable space.

“People should clear out their gutters and check any equipment they have, whether its fire pumps and make sure they have been serviced and working.

“Another thing people should do is review their bushfire survival plan and ensure that it’s not only in place but is practiced by the whole family.”

Mr Jackson said despite some areas of the Murraylands and Mallee experiencing drought farmers need to be mindful of fire starting while they harvest.

“After a dry winter moisture is low and therefore if a fire starts it will move quickly across the landscape, no matter what the fuel load,” he said.

“With crops lower than average, there is a risk of rock strikes starting a fire, as farmers try to harvest what they can.

“Therefore we ask them to ensure they have a farm fire unit on site to extinguish a fire should one start.”

Farmers are invited to refer to the voluntary Harvesting Code of Practice, which offers advice on when wind and temperatures are too risky to harvest.

“With increased pressure on farmers this year, we urge them to take all the necessary precautions to ensure they do not inadvertently start a fire while harvesting,” Mr Jackson said.

For more information about how to prepare for the upcoming fire danger season, visit the CFS website – www.cfs.sa.gov.au.

Know your code

Grain Producers SA have called on grain growers across the state to ask themselves how well they know the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice ahead of the 2018 – 2019 harvest. 

The know your code campaign, launched in 2016, encourages growers to take five simple steps to help reduce the risk of harvester fires: 1. Preparation, 2. Maintenance, 3. Monitoring, 4. Safe operations and 5. Communication.

GPSA chief executive officer Caroline Rhodes said the CFS had advised that incident data since the code was released.

“While the code is voluntary, we are seeing growers using and referencing it and we strongly encourage that practice to continue this harvest,” she said.