Home' Smart Farmer : Dec 2014 - Jan 2015 Contents Smart bushfire safety
December 2014/January 2015
Dry spring elevates
This map released by the Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC shows areas at
increased risk of bushfires.
By ELIZABETH ANDERSON
PRODUCERS across SA have
been warned to prepare for
above-normal bushfire poten-
tial as the 2014-15 fire danger sea-
son was launched earlier this month.
The warning comes as statistics
showed SA Country Fire Service
volunteer numbers had dropped by
1282 to 13,271 in the past five
Of these, 10,359 were firefighters
with 774 cadets and 2138 opera-
The number of firefighters had
dropped by 178, with the remainder
lost in cadets and support staff.
Family First MLC Robert
Brokenshire obtained the documents
under Freedom of Information laws.
"I've been told the CFS was strug-
gling to get volunteers and wanted
to see for myself what the actual
numbers were on the ground," he
But CFS preparedness operations
director Leigh Miller said statistics
did not tell the full story.
He said many of them were people
who had not been operational for
"This doesn't mean there are any
less firefighters, it means our records
have been scrutinised and cleaned
up," he said.
Mr Miller said while the number
of volunteer firefighters were not a
concern, the potential length of the
fire season was.
"People get tired of firefighting,"
"By the end of the summer it gets
to be very wearying."
Mr Miller said the season had
begun up to three weeks early for
15 regions across SA, following a
"We've been advised by the Bureau
of Meteorology that soil dryness
throughout the state is six weeks
to two months ahead of normal,"
He said the season resembled a
situation more commonly seen in
"We've had a very dry spring
this year which is the reason soil
moisture is so low," he said.
"The grass has dried out earlier and
fire behaviour has been unusual."
In October, CFS volunteer
Andrew Harrison died from severe
burns after fighting a bushfire at
Nantawarra in the Mid North.
Mr Miller said callouts for this
year's fire season were up 10 per
"When we have weather like we've
had in the past month we do see
elevated fire behaviour," he said.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards
Cooperative Research Centre high-
lighted regions in Australia likely to
have elevated risk this year.
"All of the SA agricultural areas are
where our fire risks are this year,"
Mr Miller said.
CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton
said all South Australians needed
to understand the gravity of the fire
danger season this summer.
"The tinder-like vegetation, cou-
pled with low humidity and above-
average day time and night time
temperatures, form a perfect recipe
for seriously increased fire dangers,"
"I urge everyone -- not just those
in rural areas -- to prepare ahead."
Mr Miller said people needed to
consider, and reduce, the risk of fire
Early onset of soil dryness in SA
Potential length of season concerns
Follow basic rules to keep safe
CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton says the tinder-like vegetation coupled with low humidity and above-average day time and night time temperatures are a perfect recipe for dangerous fires.
danger in their daily lives, at home
"A primary thing is reducing fuel,
particularly vegetation that is less
than a pencil diameter in thickness,"
"Leaf litter and grasses can con-
tribute to fire behaviour and the heat
of a blaze."
• Need to know more?
204 Sturt Street Adelaide 5000 Phone: 8231 4428 • All Hours Terry Delmenico 0448 841 950
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