Australia — A parliamentary committee has heard an overhaul of South Australia’s bushfire readiness is needed to avoid a catastrophe.
The Country Fire Service (CFS) has given evidence to the Natural Resources Committee in a response to the deadly bushfires in Victoria.
CFS chief officer, Euan Ferguson, says the building of refuges and the banning of development in some bushfire-prone areas need to be considered.
Mr Ferguson says land clearing on public land needs to be speeded up because some homes are not defendable.
“There would be some bushfire situations where CFS wouldn’t be able to go in there and assist householders and there would be some bushfire situations where houses would almost certainly be lost,” he said.
“Clearly if we’ve got proposals for developments in heavily forested areas, on areas which are facing on the northerly aspect, on areas where access in and out is difficult, one would question why we would be putting people at risk and allowing them to settle there.”
The Mitcham mayor, Ivan Brooks, has told the committee that some Adelaide Hills communities have been built like firetraps.
“We work very closely with Adelaide Hills Council and they hired a helicopter and we had a look from above and it is absolutely frightening to look at places at Mitcham, places at Upper Sturt and Stirling itself,” he said.
“You can’t see the roofs very much for the trees that overhang.”