Bushfire risk remains despite end of official danger season

Bushfire risk remains despite end of official danger season

The South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) is urging the South East communities to remain vigilant after the Fire Danger Season ends, as dry fuel loads and minimal rainfall continue to pose bushfire risks.

The Season officially ended across all remaining districts on Tuesday, however, bushfires can happen at any time, often when they’re least expected.

CFS crews were kept very busy throughout the Fire Danger Season, attending 1340 rural fire incidents, which equated to in excess of 100,000 hours helping their communities.

Fires of note included the fire on March 5 at Naracoorte which burned scrubland on the northern fringe of the town.

At the time, the severity of the fire posed a risk to the community with the CFS issuing a watch and act warning, urging residents to leave.

The CFS deployed 21 fire trucks, four bulk water carriers and several firebombing aircraft to protect properties at risk.

While 55 fires occurred on the 23 listed Total Fire Ban days since September, the vast majority of fires occurred on days with only Moderate or High fire danger ratings, including last week’s blaze near Meningie which destroyed over 530 hectares and came within a few metres of a home.

CFS chief officer, Brett Loughlin AFSM, said the fact that not a single house or structure was lost to a rural fire during the Fire Danger Season is a truly incredible result and one the state’s largest volunteer agency should be proud of.

“There are very few seasons in my 20 years of firefighting that I can recall achieving such a result,” Mr Loughlin said.

Mr Loughlin insists the outcome was not due to luck or calmer than expected conditions and instead the professional training of CFS volunteers, increased aviation resources, and support from partner agencies enabled firefighters to get the upper hand.

“We actually had one of the driest springs in years and, despite the weather conditions, volunteers dealt with whatever was thrown at them. We were fortunate the fires we did respond to were able to be extinguished reasonably quickly,” he said.

“When there were more significant fires, our hardworking volunteers made a lot of clever tactical and strategic decisions on the firegrounds that ultimately saved lives and property.”

The CFS’s aerial resources were bolstered this season by five new aircraft – including Black Hawk helicopters, placed strategically at fire risk regions such as the South East and the Eyre Peninsula.

CFS aircraft responded to 187 incidents and played a critical role in suppressing fires.

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