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SmartFarmer • February 2014
No smoke taint
for Eden Valley
By MALCOLM SUTTON
ABUSHFIRE at Eden Valley
last month left the region's
vineyards unscathed and
smoke blowing to the north, well
away from grapes.
Barossa Grape and Wine
Association viticultural development
officer Nicki Robins said the fire
burnt to the east of the vineyards
and did not head in the direction
of the region renowned for growing
"The fire was travelling north so
quickly, and it was pasture land that
was burnt unfortunately," she said.
"No vineyards were burnt and we
don't expect any smoke taint issues."
Eden Valley was one of the worst-
hit areas for a number of fires last
month, with more than 24,000 hec-
tares burnt from Springton to Truro.
A total of 165 CFS volunteers and
28 tankers brought the fire under
control but many homes and sheds
In the Riverland, residents at
Renmark and Monash faced a nerv-
ous wait as the CFS battled to bring
a blaze at Calperum under control.
A total of 63,000ha of Mallee scrub
and woodlands had been destroyed
before the fire was contained.
In the Billiatt Conservation Park,
between Alawoona and Lameroo,
92,000ha of grass, scrub and stub-
ble was lost, while in the Ngarkat
Conservation Park in the Upper
South East, a blaze burnt 71,000ha
of grass and scrubland.
In the southern Flinders Ranges
a fire was still burning at the end
of January, with at least 23,000ha
While the fires were most likely
caused by lightning strikes, CFS
state coordinator Yvette Dowling
said investigators would be confirm-
ing the causes -- CFS and South
Australian Police fire investigators
were spotted carefully examining a
site of interest next to Rhine Park
Road in Eden Valley.
But landholders were being urged
to remain on high alert with periods
of hot and dry weather creating an
ongoing fire risk in areas with high
CFS assistant chief officer Malim
Watts said the events of January
highlighted that you did not have
to be in a certain postcode to be
affected by bushfire.
"Conditions can change quickly,
and there's a real risk to everyone --
no one is immune," he said.
"We've heard anecdotal evidence
in the past few weeks that some
people thought they would never be
impacted by grass or bushfire. These
fires have proved otherwise.
"We've also heard stories of people
driving through walls of flames and
getting out, but they would have
just been lucky, because that is one
of the biggest killers in a bushfire
Mr Watts said the support and
assistance of farmers and landown-
ers had been invaluable to the CFS.
"We've been very pleased with the
cooperation of landowners and farm-
ers, their support and ongoing effort
is very much appreciated," he said.
Mr Watts said the CFS was in for
challenging conditions in months
"It's just so dry at the moment,
which is not unusual for this time of
year, but the dry, warm conditions,
and high fuel loads mean that even
someone just mowing their lawns on
a ride-on mower can ignite a fire,"
SA's chief veterinary officer Roger
Paskin said in late January that live-
stock losses appeared to be lower
than expected given the scale of the
"One of the good things to come
out of the bushfires is that although
there have been stock losses, they
perhaps haven't been as great as
expected," he said.
While losses were difficult to
Riesling region unscathed
Fires burn pasture land
CFS remains on high alert
Lighting over SA in January ignited a number of bushfires and is suspected to have started the Eden Valley fire that
burnt about 24,000ha.
A gum tree flares in the wind at a
scorched paddock near Rhine Park
Road, Eden Valley, last month.
Pleasant market customers ready to help
THE Mount Pleasant Farmers
Market held an appeal for
victims of the recent bushfires.
The committee donated all
funds collected from their usual
optional gold coin donation for
on-site parking to the bushfire
The appeal, aided by enthu-
siastic market volunteers, was
deemed a success. In just four
hours, volunteers managed to
"Many of our customers
and stallholders were either
evacuated from their homes or
involved helping fight the fires,
so we thought it important
to utilise the fundraising
capabilities of the market to
help those affected by the fire,"
said market manager Genevieve
Volunteer coordinator Terese
Reeves said their team was
overwhelmed by the generosity
of those who passed through
"The market committee
wants to thank market patrons,
stallholders and volunteers
for their charity and time," Ms
The Mount Pleasant Farmers
Market is open every Saturday,
Volunteers Angela and Alan Nabb and Jan and Bill Broughton with market
manager Genevieve Hebart, signing off from their volunteering duties after
collecting money for bushfire victims.
estimate, reports place total livestock
deaths at about 1700, with sheep
making up most of that number,
but that number may have since
PIRSA staff have been busy assist-
ing affected farmers to evaluate the
health of surviving livestock.
"Firstly if it's a very small number
of stock they are at liberty to eutha-
nase animals themselves if they feel
that's what they can do," Dr Paskin
"They're also welcome to talk to
their private veterinarian to assist
them with assessments and euthana-
sia, otherwise they can give us a call."
Primary Producers SA and
Livestock SA have created a register
to help donations of feed and fencing
materials reach those most in need.
"It is a difficult time for many
livestock owners, and we would like
to facilitate assistance to ensure that
feed and fencing needs are met,"
said Livestock SA chairman Richard
Donations of grain, hay, agistment
and fencing materials are welcomed,
along with volunteer help to clean
up farms and replace lost fences.
Farmers affected by the bushfires
are encouraged to join the PPSA
register. PPSA chairman Rob Kerin
said many graziers had lost pastures
so there was demand for fodder and
stock agistment, particularly in the
Eden Valley and Rockleigh areas.
• Details: Primary Producers SA 08 8297
Additional reporting by Jacinta Rose and
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