South Australians should play their part in preparation for a hot and dry bushfire season ahead, authorities say as the state recorded its second warmest winter in history.

Key points:

  • A dry winter and an upcoming hot summer increased the risk of bushfire in SA
  • South Australians are urged to start preparing their properties now 
  • CFS warns every part of the state is under fire risk

Country Fire Service (CFS) chief officer Brett Loughlin said some districts in South Australia will start their fire danger season earlier than usual.

“Our philosophy in South Australia has always been to hit fires as hard as we can, as early as we can, to give us the greatest chance of stopping them from growing into significant incidents,” Mr Loughlin said.

“But there comes a point each and every summer when the weather conditions would exceed our ability to have that sort of success.

“That’s where the public can have the greatest impact by doing their own planning their own preparation, ensuring you have fire breaks in your own rural properties, ensuring you have a Bushfire Survival Plan.”

Brett Loughlin warns the public of increased bushfire risk in 2023-24.(ABC News: Bethanie Alderson)

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said the risk of bushfires this season is “very substantial” with a “narrow” window to safely conduct prescribed burns.

“This is the first time since the summer of 2015-16 that we have both a positive Indian dipole in the Indian Ocean occurring combined with an El Nino event … which means a hotter, drier summer which of course elevates the risk,” Mr Malinauskas said.

““But critically that is also on the back of an incredibly dry three months.”

The state’s firefighting aerial fleet will be increased from 26 to 31 this year, the premier said.

Peter Malinauskas said now is the time South Australians should start getting ready for bushfire season.(ABC News)

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Jonathan Fischer said a wet autumn this year created high fuel loads in part of the state but winter has been drier than usual.

“We’ve just come off the second warmest September on record and it was also the seventh driest September on record and that followed quite a dry later part of winter with August and September being well below average in terms of that rainfall,” Mr Fischer said.

Hot and dry conditions are predicted for late spring and summer, the bureau warns.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs wants the community to show their appreciation to firefighters by being prepared.

“That is what we ask of you, to get past saying thank you to our volunteers who are true heroes of the state, and demonstrate your appreciation by making their job easier by being better prepared and to better appreciate the risk this summer poses for you,” he said.