To view a list of upcoming prescribed burns in South Australia please visit Department for Environment and Water's fire management website.
Your safety is an absolute priority. Before embarking on any wilderness activities, be sure to check for any park closures or fire bans that may affect you.
Important: During the Fire Danger Season you will need to keep a daily check of the Fire Bans and Ratings issued by the South Australian Country Fire Service.
Plan ahead and stay safe while travelling and holidaying in South Australia.
Why we do it
The Department for Environment and Water is the government agency responsible for fire prevention in South Australia's National Parks and reserves. This involves a range of activities throughout the year such as planning, research, prevention works, training crews, prescribed burning and responding to bushfires. Along with Forestry SA and SA Water, we are responsible for fire prevention on all of South Australia’s public lands. We work cooperatively with the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) to suppress fires and manage environmental issues. Fire is an integral part of the South Australian landscape, with many vegetation types requiring periodic fire to maintain ecological values.
How we do it
Our fire management program aims to protect land at risk from bush fires through a range of activities, including:
- developing fire management plans for Eyre Peninsula to identify risks to life, property, the environment and identify landscape scale risk mitigation strategies for National Parks, SA water land and neighbouring properties
- prescribed burning to minimise negative impacts from bush fires on communities, assets and the environment. These burns help to limit the spread of bush fires and gives the CFS the best chance to stop them before they get to people and their homes
- environmental assessments pre and post prescribed burning to ensure we are having no negative environmental impacts and that we are learning from our experiences
- maintaining a highly trained and experienced brigade of the CFS, specialising in remote and heavy scrub fuel firefighting. The brigade’s equipment is also designed for this purpose rather than for grass or building fires
- responding to bush fires on reserves we manage, SA Water lands or at the request of the CFS on any tenure of land
- maintenance of fire access tracks and fire infrastructure
- other fuel reduction works, such as slashing and weed management.
The most common vegetation on Eyre Peninsula is Mallee heath (scrub). Because of the structure of Mallee heath, fires in this veg type either burn intensely or they mostly stay as surface fires in the leaf litter. We use this knowledge of fire behaviour to our advantage to control what we light. At the time of year when we are burning Mallee fires we only burn under moderately hot or windy conditions during the day. We do our burns on days when the conditions are forecast to abate at night time or with a cool change following to help control and put them out. Mallee fires always create large, intimidating columns of smoke. While these fires may look uncontrollable to the casual observer they are in fact quite predictable and manageable under the right weather conditions. You might think the conditions are too dangerous on the day you see a prescribed burn taking place but we have learnt that the fires don’t burn well enough under cooler conditions. We look at all the risks very carefully, plan our prescribed burns with the CFS and ensure we have enough fire trucks and other equipment available. If the weather conditions aren’t suitable or the risk can’t be managed we don’t light up.
We are a brigade of the CFS with 49 trained firefighters on Eyre Peninsula and 400 statewide. We provide bushfire response support across the state through trained firefighters who work on the ground, and within incident management teams. Our fire-fighting equipment and training is specifically designed for fire management in native vegetation and remote areas.
When we can do it
Generally, the most suitable time to undertake a planned burn is autumn and spring. The right combination of fuel load, fuel moisture, temperature, relative humidity and wind speed is needed for a prescribed burn to be conducted safely and effectively. When we burn during the fire danger period we obtain a permit from the CFS or local council. We do not burn on total fire ban days
. Many months of research, planning and approvals occur before Department staff light a prescribed burn. This includes working with the CFS to look for potential problems and to minimise any risks by making sure all back-up resources are organised and fall-back options are identified before they are needed.