South Australia Minister for Emergency Services Peter Malinauskas
Fire Danger Remains Through Autumn
Victor P Taffa
Summer has officially ended but the fire danger season hasn’t. With Autumn predicted to be warmer and drier than average, South Australians should remain alert for the weeks to come.
“With our emergency services under pressure responding to storm activity through winter and spring, the quieter than average bushfire season has certainly been welcome.” Minister for Emergency Services Peter Malinauskas said.
“However, the danger period isn’t behind us. We have a few weeks to go until the fire danger season is over, and we all need to remain prepared. Stay informed and know what you will do if a bushfire starts near you.”
Bureau of Meteorology reports that South Australia (SA) has experienced the third wettest summer on record, and the wettest summer since 1936 / 1937, with 167.4 mm of rain.
Due to high summer rainfall this year, SA Country Fire Service (CFS) has attended around half the average number of bushfire incidents, but warns that the season isn’t over yet.
On average the CFS declares around 280 fire bans (across 15 districts) each year, with only 86 bans declared this summer.
“As we saw with the Pinery fire, it only takes one bad afternoon for a bushfire to start and cause catastrophic destruction.” SA Country Fire Service Chief Officer Greg Nettleton said.
“We’re thankful we have had a reasonably quiet season as far as fires go, but that doesn’t mean our volunteers haven’t been busy attending road crashes, structure fires and cleaning up storm damage.”
This is the first time in several years that South Australia has not seen a major bushfire such as the Pinery, Sampson Flat, Eden Valley and Bangor fires.
With the Bureau of Meteorology three month outlook predicting an ‘Indian Summer’ with warmer and drier conditions than normal, the risk of further fire ban days and bushfires remains ever present.
“The Bureau’s Autumn outlook for South Australia shows it will be drier and warmer than average, prolonging the risk of fire weather.” Bureau of Meteorology Regional Director John Nairn said.
“February was a mixed bag for South Australia, it was drier than average in the northeast, but wetter than average in the west and south. This will have implications for the fire danger index, but as always, check with the CFS for any bans.”
Fire danger season will end in some fire ban districts on 31 March, while the Adelaide Metropolitan and Mount Lofty Ranges it will end on 30 April.