SA Country Fire Service

Media release

Risk remains despite Fire Danger Season end


The South Australian Country Fire Service is urging communities to remain vigilant after the Fire Danger Season ends, as dry fuel loads and minimal rainfall continue to pose bushfire risks - as experienced on the Eyre Peninsula this weekend.

The Season officially ends across all remaining districts today; however, bushfires can happen at any time, often when they're least expected.

While 55 fires occurred on the 23 listed Total Fire Ban days since September, the vast majority of fires occurred on days with only Moderate or High fire danger ratings, including last week's blaze near Meningie which destroyed over 530 hectares and came within a few metres of a home.

CFS crews were kept very busy throughout the Fire Danger Season, attending 1340 rural fire incidents, which equated to in excess of 100,000 hours helping their communities.

Fires of note included the weekend's bushfires in the lower and central Eyre Peninsula, the APY Lands 400,000-hectare fire, and recent fires in Naracoorte and Malinong (near Meningie) which came very close to several homes.

CFS Chief Officer, Brett Loughlin AFSM, said the fact that not a single house or structure was lost to a rural fire during the Fire Danger Season is a truly incredible result and one that the state's largest volunteer agency should be proud of.

"There are very few seasons in my 20 years of firefighting that I can recall achieving such a result," Chief Officer Loughlin said.

Chief Officer Loughlin insists the outcome wasn't due to luck or calmer than expected conditions and instead the professional training of CFS volunteers, increased aviation resources, and support from partner agencies enabled firefighters to get the upper hand.

"We actually had one of the driest springs in years and, despite the weather conditions, volunteers dealt with whatever was thrown at them."

"We were fortunate that the fires we did respond to were able to be extinguished reasonably quickly," he said.

"When there were more significant fires, our hardworking volunteers made a lot of clever tactical and strategic decisions on the firegrounds that ultimately saved lives and property."

The CFS's aerial resources were bolstered this season with the addition of 5 new aircraft - including Black Hawk helicopters, placed strategically at fire risk regions such as the Eyre Peninsula and South East.

CFS aircraft responded to 187 incidents and played a critical role in suppressing fires such as the Manu Road fire outside of Port Lincoln, which burned inaccessible swamp and grass land and was eventually contained after 37 firebombing drops and the support of ground crews.

Emergency Services Minister Dan Cregan stressed the importance of remaining vigilant over the coming weeks due to the dry conditions and dry fuel loads across much of the state.

"We urge anyone conducting burn offs to ensure all precautions are taken, and contingency plans are in place to manage the fire should it get out of control," Minister Cregan said.

"The message remains the same, plan and prepare for bushfires - especially if you live, work or travel through a regional or rural location."

Media information
For media enquiries call the CFS Media Line on 08 8115 3531.

Government of South Australia