Environment SA News

Autumn prescribed burns program to get underway

A total of 42 prescribed burns are proposed as part of the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s (NPWS) autumn 2024 fire management program.

Autumn prescribed burns program to get underway

Burns of varying sizes and complexities have been prepared across the state this autumn, with 23 of these planned to protect communities in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region.

Prescribed burns are a vital fire management tool to reduce fuel loads across public and private land, and to help protect communities and industries by limiting the spread and intensity of bushfires.

NPWS Fire Management Director Fiona Gill said the dates of individual prescribed burns would be based on seasonal weather patterns.

“As part of our fire management programs, every opportunity is taken to complete as many burns as possible in suitable weather and fuel conditions,” she said.

“The number of prescribed burns that can be safely and effectively completed in any season is always subject to a window of specific weather conditions and we will never burn unless we can achieve a safe outcome.”

Prescribed burns can also play an important role in regenerating habitats for native plants and animals, and the requirements of these species are factored into the planning process.

A strategic, risk-based approach is used to carefully manage smoke around the state’s wine grape areas, and smoke taint from NPWS prescribed burning has not been recorded since its fire management program started in 2004.

In 2023, NPWS completed one of its biggest spring prescribed burn programs in the past 5 years as part of its ongoing efforts to manage fuel loads and reduce the threat of bushfires.

A total of 46 out of 56 planned burns (82 per cent) were completed across the state last spring, compared with the long-term average of about 70 per cent each year over the past decade.

Prescribed burns are a shared responsibility between land management agencies (Department for Environment and Water, ForestrySA and SA Water), Country Fire Service, councils and private landholders.

Burns that are unable to be completed due to unsuitable weather are rolled over to the following spring or autumn as part of an ongoing, rolling 3-year mitigation program.

For more information on the Department for Environment and Water’s fire management program, visit https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/fire-management/upcoming-prescribed-burns