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Local knowledge informs new fire management plan for Kangaroo Island parks

Reduced bushfire risks and improved firefighter safety headline a new fire management plan for Kangaroo Island’s national parks and reserves.

Local knowledge informs new fire management plan for Kangaroo Island parks

The Parks of Kangaroo Island Fire Management Plan has been created using the latest fire science, information and computer-based tools, as well as vital local knowledge and lived experiences.

The plan includes building 7 new fire access tracks - which are critical for bushfire prevention, preparation and response - in Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area (WPA), Simpson Conservation Park, Flinders Chase National Park and Dudley Conservation Park.

Seven existing tracks are also planned to be upgraded.

Four new water tanks - which will have a minimum capacity of 50,000 litres each - will be installed across the island: 2 in Ravine des Casoars WPA, one in Cape Gantheaume WPA and one in Seal Bay Conservation Park.

The tanks will provide safe and secure water sources for firefighters, reduce travel time when refilling firetrucks and improve prescribed burning capabilities.

The plan amalgamates 4 previous fire management plans into one, allowing for a consistent approach to fire management across the island’s parks.

It is part of reforms introduced by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) since bushfires in 2019-20 burned more than 200,000ha on Kangaroo Island.

NPWS Fire Management Director Fiona Gill said the new plan set priorities for where, how and why NPWS needed to act in parks to reduce the risk of bushfire affecting the community.

“A fire management plan can’t prevent bushfires, but it can focus our strategies to reduce bushfire impacts and improve firefighter response,” she said.

“Fire management is everybody’s business, and everyone has a role in planning and being prepared for a bushfire.”

The plan also outlines how the island’s environmental and cultural heritage will be managed. This can include ecological burning to assist species that rely on periodic disturbance from fires to regenerate their habitat.

The plan was informed by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and the Independent Review into South Australia's 2019-20 bushfire season.

The new plan ensures risk assessments align with international standards and National Emergency Risk Assessment Guidelines.

More than 60 workshops and meetings were held with community groups, non-government organisations and landholders throughout the development of the plan, and 85 submissions were received during public consultation.

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.

Click here to view the full plan.