Fuel Reduction Activities a Must

Fuel Reduction Activities a Must

In the wake of the devastating series of fires that has swept both out state and the nation this summer we must acknowledge our volunteer firefighters, their support staff and our community leaders for their incredible bravery and commitment in ensuring the safety of fellow South Australians and Australians.

Fire is integral in the South Australian landscape and has shaped the nature of our native flora and fauna for thousands of years. Every year we face the risk of bushfires. In dealing with bushfires the protection of human life is paramount, and both firefighters and community safety must be at the forefront of bushfire risk mitigation and management decision making.

Under the previous 16 years of Labor Government we have seen a significant drop in fuel reduction activities particularly in our National Parks. Fuel reduction activities are designed to remove fuels via weed management, chipping, slashing and burning to reduce the likelihood of ignition of bushfires and to lessen the resistance to control. Even on private property there are laws preventing property owners from clearing native vegetation without first seeking departmental approval which is tedious and often unrewarding. Neglecting these important activities has led to our national parks and other public areas becoming overgrown, significantly increasing the risk of bushfires. In regards to Urban Planning, towns and houses would also benefit from a buffer zone of 200 metres from National Parks and Reserves in the case of fire due to radiating heat.

Whilst we recognize that some fuel reduction activities can be detrimental to objectives to protect and conserve various species and habitats, we must not let this dictate our decision making and protecting communities must be the priority. After all we have also seen the devastation that wildfires can bring to our livestock, companion animals and native wildlife with an estimated 480 million creatures killed in the latest fires.

I commend the Marshall Liberal Government for working in partnership with community, other land managers and fire agencies to develop the code of practice for Fire Management on Public Land in South Australia and ensuring we prioritise the protection of human life above all other outcomes.

Published in Rural Briefing, 2020


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