Australia — DESPITE a 30 per cent increase in the number of rural fire incidents about 1000 more than last year South Australia ended the fire danger season on April 30 with only minimal property damage and no deaths or serious injuries. However, New South Wales and Victoria recorded horrific losses.
Country Fire Service (CFS) acting deputy chief officer Rob Sandford said there was no “magic wand” which had helped the CFS achieve these statistics.
“It’s a combination of things,” he said. “It’s the community being prepared, the outstanding work of CFS volunteers, and the support of farm fire units.
“While we can’t control the weather a combination of other things such as our aerial firefighting strategy and CFS volunteers on the ground, can assist in slowing down and helping to control fires.
“This season could have been a lot worse.”
The CFS had 10 aircraft plus additional support aircraft in place during the fire danger season, with aircraft kept in high-risk areas such as Mount Lofty, Lower Eyre Peninsula and the South East.
The CFS had more than 13,500 volunteers across the State.
“Membership is reasonably strong,” he said.
“In some areas we could always do with some more.
“Overall, there is a great sense of camaraderie, and I would encourage people to go along and join up.
“Help your neighbours out so they can be there to help you when the time comes.”
He said the efforts of farm fire units were very important. “They support local brigades,” he said.
Bushfire safety was a shared responsibility between the CFS, farmers, and property owners.
He urged city and country residents alike not to be complacent and implement bushfire survival plans everyone in South Australia needed to have a one in place.
“Even if you live in Glenelg, if you work or travel in bushfire zones you need a plan,” he said. “This includes visitors to the State. We need everyone to have a plan and we want to encourage more to do so.”