This year’s fire danger season will get off to an early start in six districts across South Australia following an extremely warm and dry spring. 

Key points:

  • The South Australian CFS has declared an early start to the fire danger season in six districts
  • It is important to understand what you can and cannot do during the fire danger season — especially on total fire ban days
  • Make sure your bushfire survival plan is up to date

The Flinders, North East Pastoral, North West Pastoral, and West Coast districts will institute fire bans from October 16, two weeks earlier than usual.

Further bans will come into effect in the Mid North and Yorke Peninsula from November 1.

Fire danger season dates have also been confirmed for the Eastern Eyre Peninsula and Lower Eyre Peninsula from November 1 and 15 respectively.

Country Fire Service director of community risk and resilience Alison May said reports of widespread grass fuel loads and curing had prompted the decision to call an early start to this year’s fire danger season.

The hillsides along the Kangaroo Island coast smoulder in 2020, after fire tore through properties.(Facebook: Leon Bignell MP)

“What’s brought on the early start to the fire season is this rapid switch that we’re seeing from the very wet months that we had over winter, to below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures,” Ms May said.

“What that means is that we have vast amounts of vegetation out there that are drying out very quickly, and the soil moisture levels are dropping very quickly as well.

“That brings with it an increased risk of fire.” 

Time to start preparing is now 

Regional duty officer for the Flinders area Ben Pettman says preparation can mean the difference between having a defendable property or not.

“Creating those fire breaks around your house, around your properties where you can, removing that debris away removes available fuel for a fire to be able to absorb and burn to a fire come close to your residence,” he said.

“[It] takes away that opportunity for that fire to take hold and put your property at risk.”

Minister for Emergency Services Joe Szakacs says worryingly high global temperatures should remind people of the ever-present danger of bushfires.

“September was the hottest September on record,” he said.

“South Australians need to be prepared.

“They need to jump on the CFS website (and) consider their own bushfire readiness.

“This year’s early start to the season is a very real reminder that South Australians have to be ready.”

Mr Szakacs said warmer and drier spring conditions have fuelled a more threatening fire danger season than seen in the last few years.

Fire danger season dates are yet to be confirmed in the Adelaide Metropolitan, Kangaroo Island, Mount Lofty Ranges, Murraylands, Riverland and the Upper and Lower South East regions.

Preparation is the key to survival on days of extreme fire risk.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

A fire permit is required for burning activities during the fire danger season or on days where a total fire ban is declared.

Permits may be issued under the Fire and Emergency Services Act by an authorised officer of a local council.

It is important to remember that during the fire ban season and total fire ban days, there are restrictions on certain hot activities such as the use of power tools and non-electric or gas barbecues.

For the full list of prohibited and restricted activities, visit the CFS website.

Posted , updated