Prescribed burn season begins

Date posted: 26 September 2012

A program of prescribed burning for the spring season is due to commence in South Australia today.

Subject to suitable weather conditions, the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) will undertake the first prescribed burn of the spring season today (Wednesday, September 26).

The burn will treat 30 hectares of land at Scott Creek. It will be followed by a burn on Thursday at Cleland Conservation Park.

DEWNR chief executive Allan Holmes said the prescribed burn program was an essential part of the State Government’s strategy to protect lives and property by reducing the impact of bushfires on public lands.

"A program of prescribed burns is planned for each spring and autumn season to reduce dense vegetation on public land, which can present a significant bushfire risk," Mr Holmes said.

"Prescribed burning reduces the fuel loads that would assist a bushfire to spread quickly if it took hold, as well as creating the vital fire breaks that help contain or fight bushfires.

"Prescribed burning is a critical safety measure that helps prevent a bushfire spreading to residential areas, and ultimately saves lives and property."

Mr Holmes said DEWNR, the SA Country Fire Service, Forestry SA and SA Water all worked closely together to deliver the prescribed burn program.

"The government plans to undertake 53 prescribed burns in parks and reserves during the spring season to reduce fuel loads in high risk areas, to help protect South Australians against the ongoing risk of bushfire," he said.

"Subject to suitable weather conditions, more than 5029 hectares of public land is expected to be treated during the spring program."

Mr Holmes said as well as its important safety benefits, prescribed burning was also used to achieve ecological outcomes.

"Fire has been a part of the Australian landscape for thousands of years and many native plants rely on it for their regeneration. Restoring native vegetation has long-term benefits for the animals that rely on it for food and habitat."

Mr Holmes said all prescribed burns were carefully planned and conducted with strict safety parameters, including a careful assessment of weather, dryness of the vegetation and site geography to manage any risk factors.

The spring program will focus on high-risk areas including the Mount Lofty Ranges, the Lower Eyre Peninsula, Southern Flinders Ranges, the South East and Kangaroo Island.

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Alex Taylor
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