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Autumn prescribed burns program fires up

Date posted: 09 Mar 2022

With the favourable mild autumn weather conditions, the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s (NPWS) program of prescribed burns will soon commence.

A total of 43 burns are planned for this autumn, following a successful spring 2021 program with 47 burns completed.

National Parks and Wildlife Service’s Director of Fire Management, Fiona Gill, said the prescribed burning program will respond to seasonal weather patterns, rather than set dates, and that the fire management team will work with industry groups and stakeholders, such as grape growers and winemakers, to ensure harvests are not impacted by prescribed burns.

“NPWS takes opportunities to burn as soon as it is safe and practical to do so,” Ms Gill said.

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

“The program of burns are part of a rolling three-year program and extra burns are planned which gives us flexibility to move burns to another season or year according to the conditions.

“As with last year, the mild summer has led to an overlap with wine grapes not yet harvested and suitable conditions to conduct prescribed burning. NPWS continues to work with industry groups to address any concerns and plan burns appropriately.

“Autumn is a time when larger, unbounded burns in more remote parks will go ahead as the cooler overnight temperatures and increasing relative humidity help suppress the fire.

“It’s also a good time to burn for certain plants and animals, such as the Swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula which are a Critically Endangered ecological community.

“By creating strategic, low bushfire hazard areas in the landscape, on our reserves and some strategically chosen private land, our autumn program helps manage the intensity and extent of future bushfires, and provides safer access for firefighters.

“They also help manage native vegetation and protect biodiversity.”

The first burns typically start in reserves in the north and west of South Australia, as these areas are drier and warmer.

NPWS prescribed burns will commence this week, with some of the first burns being undertaken on Thursday 10 March in Lincoln National Park, and Friday 11 March at Leslie Creek in Wilpena Pound in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in partnership with Adnyamthanha Traditional Owners.

Prescribed burns are carried out by NPWS, in partnership with the Country Fire Service (CFS), ForestrySA, SA Water and Landscape Boards.

Reducing bushfire risk is an ongoing and shared responsibility and everyone has a role. In South Australia, prescribed burning is a shared responsibility between CFS, other government agencies which manage land (e.g. ForestrySA and SA Water), local councils and private landholders.

For up-to-date information on prescribed burns follow @SAENVIRWATER on Twitter.

Sign up and stay informed with updates on NPWS prescribed burns straight to your inbox, or explore a map of these planned prescribed burns, at: environment.sa.gov.au/fire-management