Better burning coordination is needed ahead of another dangerous fire season

MEDIA RELEASE 
25 September 2020

Better burning coordination is needed ahead of another dangerous fire season

Without better communication between community, government agencies and the CFS, poorly designed preventative burning increases fire risk and the chances of damaging wildlife habitat, says the state’s peak environment body.

“Preventative burning is not a panacea, but it can be a useful approach to reducing fire risk – as long as it’s done well,” said Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of Conservation SA.

“At the moment, most of the preparatory burning is taking place in national parks and other public reserves by government employees.

“Not enough attention or resources are directed at working with private landholders to manage risks on their properties.

“Fire doesn’t stop at a national park boundary. Nor should our focus on fire prevention.

“There is a risk that some public lands are being stripped of their natural values by too much burning, while nearby private land is not treated.

“Protecting life and property and enhancing wildlife habitat are not incompatible, but it requires better partnerships and communication between govt agencies, landholders, CFS and ecological experts.

“We need to work better with local expertise and local knowledge,” he said.

“And we need to make sure preventative burning doesn’t unnecessarily damage wildlife and place native species at risk.

“For instance, there is some evidence showing too much burning can reduce the number and variety of birds in the Mt Lofty Ranges.

“For many years the NSW Rural Fire Service has partnered with community groups to better prepare private landholders for fire, and to make sure wildlife habitat is not unnecessarily damaged when a preventative burning program takes place.

“We need a similar program here in South Australia to respond smarter to increasingly hazardous fire conditions,” said Mr Wilkins.

Release Ends

Media Contact: Craig Wilkins, 0417 879 439

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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155, general@conservationsa.org.au, or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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