By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Friday, June 23, 2023
Wet weather over winter can make us complacent about preparing for the upcoming fire danger season. However, rainy days are a great time to learn about fire risks and the prevention measures we can all take to prepare our properties for the warmer months.
For most of the population living in metropolitan, hills-facing and semi-rural suburbs, the risk from bushfire can seem distant and irrelevant. But the CFS warns that tens of thousands of people in South Australia are unaware they’re living in bushfire risk areas, leaving them unprepared if disaster hits.
It’s not just rural areas at risk of bushfires – suburbs less than 20km from the city are in danger of being impacted by bushfire.
The suburbs and towns at risk
Although parts of South Australia – including the Mid North, South East, Riverland, Murraylands and Flinders Ranges – have been identified as the most likely regions to experience bushfires this year, there are some surprising suburbs and towns closer to Adelaide that may also be in danger.
Despite being less than 20km from the CBD, suburbs like Flagstaff Hill, Craigburn Farm, Happy Valley, Eden Hills, Beaumont, Burnside, Evanston Park, Hillbank, and Salisbury East are among the locations that could be impacted by a bushfire, and homeowners need to be prepared.
CFS Director Community Risk and Resilience, Alison May, says many homeowners don’t realise that embers travelling far from the fire front are the greatest cause of lost or damaged houses during bushfires.
“Embers are a huge risk to homes in certain suburbs,” she says.
The embers from a fire in the Adelaide Hills can be transported long distances into suburbs such as Mitcham, Burnside, Rostrevor and Golden Grove.
Ember attacks can occur kilometres from a fire and start falling up to an hour before the front arrives. So, what can you do to protect your home and family?
First, find out if your home is in an at-risk area. You can do this by checking the CFS website for Bushfire Safer Places.
Planning SA also has a Hazards (Bushfire) Overlay. Type in your address to check your risk status.
If your house is in a bushfire hazard area, you should create a bushfire survival plan, outlining what you should do to protect your property and what actions to take if a fire threatens your area.
Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS)
Moderate: Plan and prepare
High: Be ready to act
Extreme: Take action now to protect life and property
Catastrophic: For your survival, leave bushfire risk areas
The CFS website has plenty of information on how to understand bushfire warnings, how to be prepared for them, and what to do if you find yourself under threat.
From October, the CFS hosts a range of bushfire preparedness activities, with a focus on empowering the community to take responsibility for their safety by preparing their properties.
This includes a Five Minute Bushfire Plan tool for families to create a personalised bushfire strategy. Simple steps include fixing damaged roof tiles to stop burning embers blowing underneath and setting roofing timber alight.
Making sure your insurance is up to date is also an important part of preparing for a bushfire.
Don’t let a cold and wet winter distract you from the coming Fire Danger Season – prepare early for bushfires.