Home' Plains Producer : PP_130320 Contents Danger season still with us, warns CFS
Plains Producer, Wednesday March 20, 2013
Is it a fire – or farming the land?
Les Pearson reports:
Massive SA tree planting starts soon
CFS and farm units get a fire under control at Hoskin’s Corner last week.
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THE conditional permit burn-
ing season has again triggered
a series of false alarms for CFS
volunteers across the region.
Since March 1, farmers have
been able to apply for burning
permits through their local council
to burn off paddocks in preparation
for the upcoming cropping season.
However, passing motorists
or nearby residents are reporting
resulting fire sightings to the CFS,
who are then obligated to attend.
Wakefield Plains CFS group
officer, Phil Duffield, said farm-
ers were often diligent in letting
neighbours, police, council and
local brigade captains know they
will be burning specific paddocks.
He said local CFS crews get a
few false alarms during the burning
season each year.
“Hopefully we don’t get too
many more but there’s always a
few when the permit season kicks
off.” Mr Duffield said.
“It is very annoying for volun-
teers. But crews attend because you
don’t know if it is out of control
The problem is somewhat
exacerbated by emergency calls
now going to the centralised
000 service, whereas in previous
years, calls were made to the local
A recent example was a fire at
May’s property near Hoskin corner
CFS crews were called to the
fire, which coincidentally jumped
control lines after they arrived,
when winds whipped up unex-
Mr Duffield said the Mays’ fire
was a case of “bad luck”, after
adhering to all the conditions of
their permit and taking the right
“They were well within their
permit boundaries,” he said.
The fire was easily controlled
Speaking on behalf of the fam-
ily, Karla May said: “We have the
utmost respect for the CFS crews
who attended. They were very
professional and we’re lucky to
The answer to the problem of
crews getting called to false alarms
is anything but simple, given the
CFS has no intention of discourag-
ing people reporting fire sightings.
Mr Duffield said CFS regional
representatives were working with
metropolitan counterparts to come
up with a solution on the matter.
FARMERS are being urged to familiarise
themselves with the fire regulations that are
in place during fire danger season, to avoid
the accidental ignition of fires.
SA Country Fire Service (CFS) regional
commander, John Probert, says there are strict
controls on the use of certain machinery and
equipment in the open, which will remain in
place until the end of the fire danger season.
“Farmers using machinery such as slashers
must ensure there is a four metre clearance
around the area they are carrying out the work,
or they must have a shovel or rake and port-
able water spray on hand,” Mr Probert said.
On days when a total fire ban has been
declared a permit is required to operate
some equipment such as grinders or weld-
Permits can be obtained from local
“It is critical people working on the land
exercise caution when operating machinery
and put the appropriate precautions into
place, and obtain the necessary permits,”
Mr Probert said.
The CFS regional commander said there
had been many fires started from machinery
being operated during agricultural activity.
“We have seen fires begin from machin-
ery such as slashers, irrigation pumps and
harvesters causing sparks, which have then
ignited a fire,” Mr Probert said.
“While we accept that some fires are acci-
dental, they can nevertheless have devastating
Under legislation, there are strict regula-
tions about the use of engines and exhaust
systems during the fire danger season.
“Only exhaust systems which are well-
maintained, leak free and designed to prevent
the escape of sparks and contact with flam-
mable material can be used during the fire
Mr Probert said.
“Farms generally have significant
amounts of combustible material present, so
it is essential to have the correct safeguards
in place to prevent a fire starting.”
The Fire Danger Season for Wakefield
Regional, Clare and Gilbert Valleys and
District Council of Mallala ends on April 30.
For more information on CFS fire regu-
lations, visit the CFS website at www.cfs.
sa.gov.au or speak to your local Council Fire
THE BURNING QUESTION
SOUTH Australian landhold-
ers needing low-cost native trees
can order through Trees For Life’s
highly respected tree scheme from
May 1 until July 31.
For $100 (which includes one-
year TFL membership), seedlings
can be grown to order by a volun-
teer grower ready for planting in
Autumn 2013, or landholders can
grow their own seedlings.
From mostly city backyards,
more than 1200 volunteers help
repair major environmental is-
sues like salinity and soil erosion
by growing seedlings for South
Australian farmers, local councils
and other revegetation partners.
This winter rural landholders
are planting more than 620,000
seedlings ordered last year through
Trees For Life. The seedlings are lo-
cal to the area they will revegetate.
For more information or to re-
quest a species order form, phone
the TFL office on 8406 0500 or
log onto www.treesforlife.org.au
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• Friday March 29 - Closed
• Saturday March 30 - Closed
• Monday April 1 - Closed
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