Environment SA News

Have your say: draft Kangaroo Island parks fire management plan released

A new overarching fire management plan for Kangaroo Island parks has been drafted by National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia (NPWS), which amalgamates four fire management plans into one for the whole island.

Have your say: draft Kangaroo Island parks fire management plan released

The regions affected are Cape Forbin, Cape Gantheaume, Dudley Peninsula, and Flinders Chase.

The draft is part of reforms NPWS has put in place since the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires of 2019-20. It has been informed by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, and Independent Review into South Australia's 2019-20 Bushfire Season by former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty AO.

The new and improved risk-based approach ensures risk assessments align to international standards and National Emergency Risk Assessment Guidelines. The independent review recognised these reforms as a significant improvement.

Fire management plans guide activities in national parks, setting priorities about where, how, and why we need to act to reduce the risk of bushfire, and to manage the environment and cultural heritage of the state.

Department for Environment and Water Fire Management Director Fiona Gill said public consultation would allow all stakeholders to put forward their views.

“This draft Parks of Kangaroo Island Fire Management Plan considers local knowledge and lived experiences, which helps to make this plan a robust one,” Ms Gill said.

“The latest fire science, knowledge and computer-based tools have also been used to make the draft plan more effective, more evidence-based and in line with national best practice.”

NPWS is inviting comment between Monday 26 June to Monday 7 August 2023. Please provide feedback via YourSAy: yoursay.sa.gov.au/ki-parks-fire-management-plan

The new plan will provide long-term, strategic direction for NPWS on Kangaroo Island. It will guide fire management in NPWS parks and reserves, setting priorities about where, how and why we need to burn or undertake other risk reduction activities.

The draft plan has a greater emphasis on spatial information and fire management strategies, using digital storytelling to give a stronger sense of place while being simpler and easier to use than traditional text-based plans.

This makes it more agile to review, amend and approve fire management strategies.

Strategies include reducing fuel hazards; maintaining and improving fuel breaks, access tracks and firefighting appliances; and maintaining highly trained and skilled firefighters.

A fire management plan can’t prevent bushfires, but it can focus NPWS’ actions on strategies to reduce bushfire impacts, improve firefighter response, manage native vegetation and protect biodiversity in South Australia's parks and reserves.

Likewise, a prescribed burn won’t stop all bushfires, but it may limit their spread and impact, and make them easier and safer to suppress.

Reducing bushfire risk is an ongoing and shared responsibility and everyone has a role.

NPWS works in partnership with the CFS, Landscape SA, ForestrySA and SA Water as part of an integrated state-wide bushfire mitigation program to reduce the spread and impact of bushfires on communities and the environment.