Bushfire Action Week

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (15:08): As you may know, this week is Bushfire Action Week.
Launched on Sunday 30 October, a series of events will be held in many parts of South Australia
throughout the week, providing an opportunity for people to engage with the CFS and learn more
about how they can make a contribution to their personal safety and that of their community.

 

Bushfire Action Week is a timely reminder for all South Australians that bushfires will happen
and that individuals, households and businesses need to plan what they and their family should do
when it does. The long wet winter, that does not seem to want to end, should not distract us from the
very real threat of bushfires. Indeed, all the rain we have experienced in recent months has created
lush growth in our neighbourhoods that can become fuel for bushfires.

In recent years, many South Australians have been devastated by catastrophic bushfire
events, with 2015 bookended by the Sampson Flat fire in January and the Pinery fire in November.
Both fires illustrated the damaging consequences of bushfires, with the Sampson Flat fire burninguncontrolled for days and destroying homes, businesses, forests, grazing lands, vineyards, livestock
and properties across 12,600 hectares. The Pinery fire was even more destructive, burning an
estimated 82,500 hectares, resulting in extensive property damage and, sadly, the loss of two lives.

Bushfires can escalate very quickly, and they move rapidly. 'Plan to survive' is the key
message for Bushfire Action Week. The CFS is encouraging everyone to plan for their personal
safety and that of their families, their neighbours, their pets and livestock. This involves preparing
your home and property to withstand a bushfire and developing a bushfire survival plan. My own
electorate is a very big bushfire-prone area, and many residents are at risk. It is essential that every
household makes a contribution to community efforts to prepare for the bushfire season.

Fires are spread and fuelled by flammable grasses, weeds and bushes. We can all help
reduce fuel loads by cutting grass, clearing away fallen leaves and dead undergrowth, emptying
gutters, pruning lower branches and removing hazardous materials away from your house. The CFS
strongly encourages every household to also have a written and practised bushfire survival plan, as
it is the most important part of preparing to survive a bushfire. A plan allows you to identify the triggers
to leave early or prepare to actively defend your property, to make major decisions in advance and
keep your focus to make better decisions in the event of a bushfire threat, to know where family
members are and what they will be doing and to identify the resources you need.

It is also highly recommended that you have an emergency kit, with insurance papers, photos
and other valuables ready for a quick exit. Keep a phone charged throughout summer and know
where to access bushfire information. Know where to go: identify your closest bushfire-safe place
and last resort refuge. There are five last resort refuges in my electorate, that is, Flinders University
oval, Bellevue Heights oval, Blackwood Hill Oval, Hewett Sports Ground, and Weymouth Oval at
Coromandel Valley.

The CFS works hard to protect life and property, but they cannot always be everywhere.
More than 3,500 firefighters responded to the Sampson Flat fire, including support from the New
South Wales and Victorian authorities. Over 1,700 firefighters responded to the Pinery fire, with
support provided by the Victorian fire authorities as well. The simple actions I have outlined to prepare
you and your home included in the bushfire survival plan may help save your life or that of a loved
one this bushfire season.

Bushfire Action Week includes the launch of the 2016-17 Fire Danger Season awareness
campaign, as well as activities such as bushfire safety displays, barbecues, information sessions
and opportunities to interact with the CFS through open days at several local brigades. Just this last
Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending the Blackwood CFS open day, and I had the chance to speak
to Captain Darren Cock and his crew regarding the bushfire preparedness of his brigade.

I would like to acknowledge the important role of the CFS, especially the hardworking
volunteers within the Sturt CFS group, and the local branches. They have worked tirelessly through
our winter, assisting SES volunteers to respond to storm damage and help protect life and property.
I welcome their continued efforts and extend my thanks ahead of the 2016-17 bushfire season.