Successful prescribed burn period

BURNS COMPLETE: A total of 44 burns were completed in the autumn burning program, which continued into June because of the dry start to winter. Picture: Supplied

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has successfully completed its annual prescribed burn programs, with 90 burns conducted across the state in the past 12 months.

A total of 44 burns were completed in the autumn burning program, which continued into June because of the dry start to winter.

This follows one of NPWS’s biggest spring burn programs, where 46 burns were completed between August and November 2023.

The annual prescribed burn program always includes extra burns to allow for flexibility and unfavourable weather conditions.

Due to the favourable conditions and long autumn season, NPWS was able to complete more burns than its long-term annual average.

Nearly 60 burns were conducted in the Mount Lofty Ranges due to the region’s high population and number of national parks and reserves.

Large burns were undertaken in Ngarkat Conservation Park in the Murraylands, Dhilba- Guuranda Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula and a number on Kangaroo Island.

NPWS fire management director Fiona Gill said burns completed in the past 12 months helped to reduce fuel loads.

“We fully acknowledge that the prolonged dry conditions through autumn were very challenging for SA’s agricultural sector, but they provided us with the right conditions to complete a high number of vital prescribed burns,” she said.

“Staff planned and prepared programs carefully and looked for every opportunity to undertake this important work, including performing burns which we had not been able to complete in previous years.”

Prescribed burns are a vital fire management tool to reduce fuel loads across public and private land, and to help protect communities and industries by limiting the spread and intensity of bushfires.

A significant amount of other bushfire mitigation activities, such as slashing, weed control and fire track maintenance, are also carried out each year to reduce bushfire risk on public land.

As part of the NPWS fire management program, every opportunity is taken to complete as many burns as possible in suitable weather and fuel conditions during spring and autumn.

Burns that are unable to be completed due to unsuitable weather are rolled over to the following spring or autumn as part of an ongoing, rolling 3-year mitigation program.

In South Australia, prescribed burns are a shared responsibility between the Country Fire Service, government agencies that manage land (DEW, ForestrySA and SA Water), councils and private landholders.