Australia — South Australians must be prepared for the worst this bushfire season, Emergency Services Minister Jennifer Rankine says.
With hot conditions already experienced across the state and above-average temperatures predicted for summer after a wet winter, the conditions were set for serious bushfires to occur, the minister said.
Over the past two weeks a number of areas had been hit by fire, including two significant incidents on the state’s Eyre Peninsula.
“Widespread damage will be caused this summer if the community does not heed the ongoing warnings of our fire services,” Ms Rankine said.
“We have the fuel, we have the heat so please take all precautionary measures and be prepared.
“Recent events have demonstrated the ferocity of bushfires.”
The minister’s warnings came on Friday ahead of the official start of the bushfire season in all SA districts from December 1.
Country Fire Service chief officer Greg Nettleton said the service’s 13,500 firefighters across South Australia were ready for the fire season.
But he said being prepared was a shared responsibility.
“Anyone who lives in a high-risk area must be adequately prepared to respond to the threat of a bushfire,” he said.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Nicola Roxon said South Australians hit by the two recent Eyre Peninsula fires at Tulka and Coomunga would be eligible for financial assistance.
Ms Roxon said the funding packages were part of the government’s commitment to help the recovery of disaster-affected communities.
The government said funds would also be available to repair or replace essential public assets damaged in the fires.
The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.