How can we be better prepared to deal with major bushfires and reduce their impact on South Australian communities?

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 3 February to 17 April 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

 

Your input will help us identify how South Australia can adapt and learn from recent events to be better prepared for dealing with future bushfires.

Read the Terms of Reference and provide your feedback by logging in and commenting below.

 

Comments closed

Danny McMahon

16 Apr 2020

I live in Woodside, but was in Adelaide working when the fire started and headed in that direction. It was too late to get back in the area due to road closures and family left early, and were safe.

I spoke to friends throughout the ordeal and reflected after the event that I had a lot more information at my fingertips on fire direction etc than those on the ground. Most people seemed to be tuned to the ABC - and while this is useful to hear an initial outbreak of a fire - I don't think the constant repetition of the same message is very helpful or informative. I used the pager app and found I was able to communicate to those on the ground more efficiently than what they were hearing. I know going forward you probably don't want people to have access to this, as the last thing you want is people staying and relying on that information - but I feel there must be a better way to get more relevant updates through - rather than the siren and old message on the ABC. Reading an app in the middle of the chaos also appears to have its weaknesses - and wondered if an app was able to have a voice function, where the constant updates had a digital voice coming from the phone. Searching through an app while in the middle of smoke and getting family into a car is not likely to go well, but a phone emanating updates verbally may be more useful while people are hurriedly organising themselves. Maybe fanciful - not sure.

While I listen to the ABC and they should be congratulated for their overall coverage, I think it would be a mistake to think the current format is a success.

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Danny McMahon

16 Apr 2020

Hello Danny, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Louise, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

helen furnell

14 Apr 2020

Lets go back in time to the 1950's when tracts of land were cleared creating fire breaks, Councils in country areas also did burn offs on land that was vacant and overgrown with dry grasses, I know these things cost money but we need to get priorities right and save our people and wild life from this threat

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > helen furnell

16 Apr 2020

Hello Helen, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Louise, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Kirsten Wynn

07 Apr 2020

I am a Dawesley resident, very lucky to say I still have my house! I also helped establish Nairne Fire Support and provided a lot of assistance to our fire affected community.

- mobile blackspots need to be addressed. We do not have adequate tv, phone or radio reception and so rely on NBN which leaves us at risk of being unable to send and receive critical messages during natural disasters.
- plans for volunteer management and coordination. Efforts like ours largely managed the initial response while we waited for the Lobethal recovery centre to open. I had serious concerns for our liabilities as organisers and the safety of volunteers who were helping with labour such as fencing and debris removal, animal disposal etc given the possibilities of injuries, asbestos and CCA posts, watershed contamination and so on. On this, plans for how the disposal of animal carcases and toxic materials such as CCA and asbestos need to be enacted earlier.
- plans for how people's water supplies will be topped up. People's water sources were used for the fires, afterwards they still had live stock to be cared for that required water.
- mobile accommodation units, portable toilets and generators. Some people have valuable machinery and livestock and cannot leave their properties for more than a night or two. Many people were living in burnt houses with no electricity or toilets in the days after the fires.
- better communication with emergency hotlines. Staff on the phones were not provided with enough information about what was happening with people's details when they registered, many people felt very confused.
- ability for relief efforts to use SAPOL or similar for license checks to prevent scammers receiving services
- rapid response mental health support
- register of contractors and funds to deploy them for rapid clean up of fencing, roadside debris etc. There were piles of partially cleaned up vegetation left on the side of the roads which added stress to people who were already concerned about further fires.
- community training days for basic fire defence
- register of people who have previously managed fire recovery to be rapidly deployed to help coordinate responses, minimise duplication of services
- grants for small communities to fund a small firefighting/emergency trailer for communal use with radio/water/generator/chargers etc
- funds to sustain incomes of CFS during their volunteering

That's all I can think of currently. In general I felt that there was a lot of pressure on the community to shoulder the immediate response as it took over two weeks for the recovery centre to open. I can appreciate the public holidays slowed things down but we were ill-equipped and received no public funding to provide a huge amount of relief to our community.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Kirsten Wynn

07 Apr 2020

Hello Kirsten, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Louise, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Birgitta Selberg

02 Apr 2020

Ask the aboriginals how to manage the land. They apparently have good burning techniques.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Birgitta Selberg

03 Apr 2020

Hello Birgitta, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Louise, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Frank Burden

01 Apr 2020

Given the extended deadline for submissions I have added more comments and summarised key points from my written submission.
I live about 20km south of where the Cudlee Creek fire started and just outside the burnt area. Smoke from the fire blew over our property shortly after the fire started, when our Fire Safe group's first warning text was sent. This was nearly five hours before a CFS bushfire emergency warning was received, although the Alert SA app did provide us with current information on the fire. Charred leaves also fell and trains on the Adelaide-Melbourne line that runs between our properties operated at normal speeds. This put us on high alert to look out for spot fires.
I had experienced several destructive fires on my last property in the Upper South East. Lightning struck in unpredictable places – on trees, and, for the worst fire, it struck the middle of a low-lying, heavily-grazed flat area surrounded by higher ground. Most fires were small, and the last two separated by two days in February 2013 were devastating and overwhelming.
The time from seeing the lightning strike and first puff of smoke in the worst fire, to driving with a fire trailer one km to its origin, was about 15 minutes. The fire was already too big to control alone, but was controlled a few hours later by three CFS crews and numerous farm fire units. Two days later, a wind change rekindled a smouldering small tree on a neighbour's property, and the fire swept back over unburnt ground, jumped a 7m wide dirt road, then burned across a 20m fire break mowed around a paddock, before being controlled again by the CFS and numerous farm fire units. Trees and roots continued to smoulder for at least two weeks, and had to be monitored and were doused frequently.
According to the CFS, the best reaction time a Hills' property owner can expect is about 30 minutes from a 000 call to being at the scene of a fire. A single spot fire, whether caused by lightning, an ember blown from a distant fire, a branch falling on a power line, or a spark from a passing train, can quickly grow and become uncontrollable unless there is somebody there within a few minutes to extinguish it. This is why ALL property owners and those on neighbouring properties, including primary production land, must minimise fire hazards around and near their and neighbours' properties and buildings. Lives are at risk if this is not done. This practice is essential for unoccupied land close to residential properties, and must be strictly enforced across all of this land by councils.
Fire risk assessments and standards for bushfire management approved in 2016 by the State Bushfire Committee and published in the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Bushfire Management Area Plan (a requirement of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005) are reasonable and logical, and should represent the minimum guidance used by councils for established developments and properties. However, Asset Protection Zones and Bushfire Buffer Zones have been compromised over time, in many cases probably unwittingly, by property owners and their neighbours planting hazardous vegetation too close to buildings and property boundaries.
The BMAP appears to have been overlooked, rejected, or given low priority, by my council, which describes it still as a draft or interim plan in the council's 18/19 annual report and 19/20 business plan. The council uses Bushfire Protection Area assessments to guide its bushfire management program. BPAs are a development approval requirement of the Development Act 1993 and supporting regulations and code. BPAs define such thing as a property's minimum water requirements for fire fighting, and property access and egress designs, and are no longer appropriate for use by councils for established developments and properties in bushfire management programs.
According to my council, all of my town is within a medium fire risk BPA, but the BMAP annotates about 25% with an extreme fire risk rating. Such a significant and confusing inconsistency between the council's assessment, which it uses to justify actions taken in its bushfire management program, and the BMAP needs to be addressed with high priority before the next fire season starts.
Since moving to the Hills just over five years ago, I have been dismayed at the poor hazard management on a minority of properties. Unoccupied, unused paddocks with long dry grass adjacent to residential properties, but with completely inadequate council-required 5m wide fire breaks mowed roughly around the edge, and unoccupied heavily-treed properties surrounded by residential properties, pose a major fire risk to the lives and properties of all neighbours.

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Frank Burden

02 Apr 2020

Hello Frank, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Louise, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

GRAEME CONNELL

01 Apr 2020

I was born on Kangaroo Island and have served on the K.I. Council for 9 years, I had 40 years as a member of the CFS being a fire fighter Captain of Kingscote brigade, Island fire supervisor for the then Dudley and Kingscote Councils and after this Kangaroo Island Group Officer. National parks were run very well up to about the 1980s They had bare earth fire brakes and done hazard reduction burns but that all changed with later management and we have seen many disastrous fires since. I believe members of National Parks should not have any position in command centres or field management position as they have a conflict of interest when there are decisions to be made regarding Park fires. When I was a member for Council we tried to get rules changed on road side native vegetation I pushed for having the veg cleared from one side of the road but was unsuccessful. Road side veg has always been a problem and is only getting worse because it is not managed
I found many cfs volunteers coming from the main land were very poorly trained in mop up and back burning which is vital tool. Is very successful when used with local knowledge Thanks for this opportunity Graeme Connell

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > GRAEME CONNELL

02 Apr 2020

Hello Graeme, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Louise, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

William Hannaford

01 Apr 2020

I stayed and defended in the Cudlee Creek fire. My house is on a rural property that has both open pasture paddocks and native scrub. My house is only about 3 years old and is fairly close to the native scrub but has open 20m buffers on all sides of the house. I have heard that most of the houses that were lost in the Cudlee Creek fire where either older or undefended.
I believe that we need to protect the last remnants of our natural heritage. We have destroyed so much already. Fire is a natural part of our landscape and with climate change it will only become more frequent. If property owners have older inadequate infrastructure, then they need to make it bushfire proof rather than destroy more native vegetation to reduce the risk. Property owners still do not do enough to reduce fuel loads within 20m of their homes. It would be a real travesty to either graze with livestock or destroy native vegetation in National Parks and on roadside corridors to ensure that inadequately protected and poorly located houses/sheds are made safe from bushfire.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > William Hannaford

02 Apr 2020

Hello William, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Louise, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Jenny Nagorcka

23 Mar 2020

Being remote from the island during the fires the interactive maps provided only a basic overview, and there were not many changes to reflect exactly what was happening on the ground. To this end it is easy to see why people would become complacent - we really needed details of either road names or other place markers to pinpoint exactly where the fires were. The general name of the fire was only useful for State controllers, not the locals who were required to watch, prepare and act. Thank you for allowing me to comment.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Jenny Nagorcka

24 Mar 2020

Hello Jenny, Thank you for your feedback - both have been noted.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Jenny Nagorcka

23 Mar 2020

Feedback from local coordinators on Kangaroo Island suggested that numerous attempts were made in the control centre to escalate the need for preventive firebreaks in the National Park and Forestry locations during the days of the crisis. The decisions were made contrary to local advice and caused much anger and frustration, and of course a huge loss to the farming community.

I have worked in multiple large organisations where dispute resolution processes are firmly embedded. If a person is unhappy with any decision, then there is the option to openly escalate to either the next level up in the organisation, or to an independent party for an impartial review. I believe having such an escalation process available could have provided a more balanced view of the fire situation, and given locals an opportunity to have their concerns addressed in a timely manner.

The escalation processes are non-judgemental, but also allow the expertise and experience of the local community to be fairly represented in times of crisis. Without this, all debate is potentially stifled in the control room. Decisions are made by the person with the most organisational control rather than local experience.

Lynton Vonow

22 Mar 2020

The sparks that started the Cudlee Creek fire were caused by a branch falling onto power lines. Despite best efforts it is clearly not possible to clear back every branch that might do so (SAPN have been expensively trying to do so for years). My suggestion is that the State Government budget, over several years, to fund the placement underground of all power lines through highly vegetated areas eg. by providing funding (and legislation if necessary) to SAPN to make it happen. A staged process of completing several kilometres every year could see it achieved within a decade. Measures must also be put in place to reverse climate change, and its accompanying hotter and drier conditions, but let’s remove one source of fire in the meantime. The cost of undergrounding all powerlines would be money well spent – it would have prevented hundreds of millions worth of damage, lives and livelihoods.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Lynton Vonow

23 Mar 2020

Hello Lynton, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Nathan Bell

22 Mar 2020

While there were many issues surrounding the Kangaroo Island fires, I feel one of the bigger ones was mismanagement of parks, bush land and roadside vegetation. Firstly, there were excessive fuel loads due to a lack of hazard reduction burns which created a super intense fire that was uncontrollable. Secondly, there were no substantial firebreaks to split up blocks of scrub & roadside vegetation which acted as catastrophic wicks leading the fire to spread rapidly across KI. Once this fire really got going, it did not matter how many resources were thrown at it, there was no stopping it.
I would like serious thought to be given to why our local, available dozers were denied access to put in crucial fire breaks in the Ravine fire 3 days prior to it developing into a massive fire. I feel that given the catastrophic weather forecast that was coming, they should have been able to do whatever was necessary to contain the fire within the national park while the weather remained favourable. Please note that they were denied access on the grounds of environmental conservation NOT safety. This is ludicrous, as we now have lost the entire national park, homes, farms, livestock & wildlife across half of the island. Under the DEH Wilderness Protection Areas and Zones South Australian Code of Management (published June 2004) Section 3.6 (vi) heavy machinery CAN be used for fire suppression "where it is considered to be the only way of preventing greater long-term loss of wilderness quality" or to mitigate hazard to human life.
Farmers, landholders and local parks need more freedom to be able to manage and control burn their own bush to prevent these circumstances occurring again. Locals used to have this freedom and never had fires like this but this freedom has been taken from us. On Kangaroo Island we do get plenty of ideal weather for conducting controlled burns but the current heavy regulations prevent us from taking the necessary action. Regulation and control need to be handed back to our local CFS, parks and councils who are more than capable and have a better understanding of the local needs, terrain and climate.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Nathan Bell

23 Mar 2020

Hello Nathan, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Di DeLaine

20 Mar 2020

In a warming and drying environment, it is often not practical to increase hazard reduction. I believe more resourcing needs to occur on the preparedness component of PPRR, particularly community preparation and preparedness. We need more education, more community officers, programs in schools and programs for businesses. Our community need to be so much better prepared. Our volunteers do an excellent job in response. What let us down on KI was lack of large aircraft to assist (as well as fire units) when fires in Adelaide Hills and across the nation were occurring at the same time. Firies were busy with other incidents. This is a failing of our Commonwealth Government in adequately understanding the risk to this seasons' bushfire threat. We need more volunteers, and adequate aerial resourcing across the entire country.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Di DeLaine

20 Mar 2020

Hello Di, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Lee Williams

11 Mar 2020

In rural and regional areas farm fire units are often participating in fire and bushfire suppression, and quite often first on scene, the review should recognise, and assist with these. Small fires are much easier to put out than big fires, and many occasions done by these small units. Water accessibility, seems to be an issue, highlighted, the number of kms to water and return to the fire, some issues.. everyone using a bore water tank, and emptying it, and electricity turned off so no water recharge. Containment lines being put in with machinery, and some of these lines accidently cutting the poly pipes and emptying farm tanks. Different communication tools, or NO COMMUNICATION. The mobile phone blackspots need to be addressed, reliance on mobiles is not safe, you don't know you don't have signal, till you can't get it..All constructive positive and negative input to these discussions must be given a fair hearing. It isn't just flames, burnt structures, scrub etc. The smoke that was endured by many during this last season, for days, weeks, even if a fire was not in the immediate vicinity was awful, sometimes that thick, you wouldn't report a fire until you saw flames!!. the management of the day must know where the fire is!! The computer generated models, may need to be reassessed, for accuracy, and responsible decision makers, take responsibility for those decisions. 000 call takers must have current maps used by CFS, which was highlighted at a public meeting after a fire, they may not have. Appropriate funding before the fires/fire season must be provided for firefighting, and fire prevention, on ground. The cost after these events is significant. If a catastrophic day is declared people who need/want to leave must have an ability to drive on roads that are prepared by councils/ transport dept. (many roads have overhanging trees, flammable vegetation, no roadside verge to pull off the road). Preparation is not someone else's job, we all have a role in the communities we live and visit. A positive to the discussion, is that many people are willing to help, wanting to help, and do so in many roles, some for many years. People were exhausted from their experiences this season, and then to recovery, for some will be a long road to endure. For some of us, it wasn't a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Lee Williams

12 Mar 2020

Hello Lee, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Stephen Congdon

25 Feb 2020

We lost our place at Stokes Bay - it all started on the 20th December - the dry thunderstorm that came over the Middle river area that day (We were right under it) unleashed at least 50 lightning strikes which burned out most of Middle and Western rivers - then the fire got into the scrub around Middle river dam - then a fire got going in Flinders Chase - the unfortunate timing of these events - the ensuing heat - wind conditions and dryness of the land conspired to create the worst possible scenario - the strong SW wind change on the 2nd of January sealed our properties fate along with most of the farmers around us - I do not believe anything could have stopped that fire - although by some miracle Parndana and Vivonne Bay were saved - and there were many other small victories - but 89 peoples houses were destroyed. For many years I have wanted to do cool burns of some of our 100 hectares of bushland and forest but was not allowed to and even if I was sometimes you simply cannot make it burn - conditions have to be just right to get cool burns just right - still - it is probable that the Kangaroo Island event was a once in 500 years inevitability. The Island has undoubtedly burned from end to end many times before and will again - the commitment required from Government, landholders and the general pubic to "fireproof" places like Kangaroo Island cannot I believe ever be realised - we would only be tinkering around the edges - certainly houses can be made more fire resistant and landholders be allowed - even encouraged - to sensibly and sustainably manage the fuel loads on their properties - councils should be more responsible and proactive in identifying and dealing with fuel loads in their jurisdictions - National parks should be mosaic burning every year - but still - after all of that - I think we have to accept that the Australian bush occasionally burns fiercely and uncontrollably and all puny humans can do is get out of the way.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Stephen Congdon

26 Feb 2020

Hello Stephen, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Craig Markby

24 Feb 2020

The Cuddlee Ck fire was a fire that didn't have to happen.
ETSA policy on line clearance of vegetation was the single most causative factor in this situation. There needs to be sweeping changes in how power lines are kept clear of vegetation in Hills regions. No vegetation can be high enough to fall or topple onto power lines. PERIOD. Look up and Live.
Hazard reduction, where that fire started, the last fire it had was Ash Wednesday 38yrs ago..why?
Security, is a slap in the face to locals denied access by panicked police banning access to areas that Police of no knowledge of. I personally witnessed out of town police shouting at farm fire fighter units to pull over and prevent them from getting to Mt Torrens from Birdwood on the morning of the 21st Dec. It was insanity to the locals and sheer panicked protection by police over things they new nothing about. A hopeless loggerhead of protection being prevented by protection. Let those can defend, Defend!
Why can we be easily located when we get a speeding ticket or a library fine, but no one knows us when we our towns are burning? Every victim has had to come forward to identify themselves as affected. Some may never because they don't believe they deserve help...depression. We need a community ID register so affected properties and their occupants can be identified and contacted, like I said, you can always land an expiation notice....can't you? But we had to retreat to the city for accommodation and drive daily to the hills just to speak to people. Ridiculous.

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Craig Markby

25 Feb 2020

Hello Craig, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Trevor Fiegert

20 Feb 2020

Bushfires on Yorke Peninsula
The danger period for Yorke Peninsula is Nov to Xmas----when crops are bone dry and readying for harvest
Solution: The many towns on Yorke P. should have a 200metre safety zone around the town
This zone can still be farmed but ONLY used for haymaking purposes
Haymaking occurs Sept-October . this would leave areas of very short stubble which would aid any fire protection during the "Danger Period" mid Nov -Dec
Please Consider This Solution
Thank you ----Trevor Fiegert ---resident of Coobowie

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Trevor Fiegert

20 Feb 2020

Hello Trevor, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Ian Preston

18 Feb 2020

Following the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, the Victorian Bushfire Safety Policy Framework was amended to support and recognise the use of accredited private bushfire shelters as a suitable shelter during a bushfire. That change meant that Victorians then only required planning approval to install a bushfire shelter; they no longer required building rules consent. The latter was covered by the Victorian certificate of accreditation for bushfire shelters. Accredited bushfire shelters had passed rigorous testing (in accordance with the Australian Building Codes Board).
DPTI regulations make it unreasonably difficult for South Australians to install private bushfire shelters. In contrast, South Australians should be able to expect that DPTI regulations should help to reduce the risk of death during bushfires.
The regulations are also out of step with the Australian Building Code, which indicates that the Victorian Certificate of Accreditation can be used as evidence of building rules consent, as is the case in Victoria.
In August 2018, DPTI released a revised technical advisory notice for private bushfire shelters. That notice outlines a cumbersome, costly and largely opaque process to gain building rules consent to install such shelters in South Australia.
The DPTI regulations had been revised without any public consultation.
Because there was no public consultation, it is impossible to determine why DPTI staff do not trust the Victorian Government’s Certificate of Accreditation for bushfire shelters. The Victorian Government appears to have engaged the CSIRO to test the bushfire shelters. Rather than ignoring the Victorian Accreditation, testing such as this is exactly what DPTI staff should be proactively seeking, to save public money and meet public expectations.
South Australians expect DPTI staff to proactively promote bushfire shelters that have passed tests in accordance with the Australian Building Codes Board. The unintended consequence of the DPTI regulations is that many South Australians are unknowingly installing structures, such as concrete water tanks, as bushfire shelters. Such shelters have not been tested and may be death traps during a bushfire.
The severe bushfires across South Australia require Government leadership, particularly in cases like this, because bushfire shelters have been shown to reduce the risk of death during bushfires.
The Victorian Bushfire Safety Policy Framework (https://files-em.em.vic.gov.au/public/EMV-web/Bushfire-Safety-Policy-Framework-2018.pdf) should be used to guide a revision of the DPTI regulations. DPTI regulations should support the use of the Victorian Accreditation for private bushfire shelters as a suitable shelter option.
Victorian Certificate of Accreditation for bushfire shelters (https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/building/building-regulations-advisory-committee/building-product-accreditation).
Building Code of Australia - performance standard for bushfire shelters (https://www.abcb.gov.au/-/media/Files/Resources/Education-Training/Performance-Standard-Private-Bushfire-Shelters.pdf).
Building Code of Australia handbook on evidence of suitability (page 7, https://www.abcb.gov.au/-/media/Files/Resources/Education-Training/Handbook_Evidence_of_Suitability.pdf).
DPTI technical advisory notice for private bushfire shelters (https://www.saplanningportal.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/488212/Advisory_Notice_03_18_-_Private_Bushfire_Shelters.pdf).

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Ian Preston

19 Feb 2020

Hello Ian, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Renee Sporne

18 Feb 2020

Last year I wanted to buy a property with a boundary along the Onkaparinga River in Balhana; the river area was an easement with an access track for vehicles (emergency services I believe). It was over grown and had fairly large fallen trees across the track which had been there for a very long time. Although is was not on the township side of the town boundary it was a residential property surrounded by properties which were within the township boundary. Earth-moving equipment was not available to the owners and in any case they would not be qualified to operate it. Rivers and other waterways like the Onkaparinga River (I assumed) should be managed by the relevant local council as the water is not contained by the land owner. Surely the EPA has some guidance on how to properly manage these areas which can be uniformly rolled out under local council management? How do we get something like this started? Is there a need for a group/body to get this sort of initiative started?

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Renee Sporne

19 Feb 2020

Hello Renee, Thank you for your feedback - both have been noted.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Renee Sporne

18 Feb 2020

On a recent road trip to Alice Springs I noticed public roads are cleared of vegetation for at least 4m either side; the land is also graded.
Can someone please add this to the Risk Register as a possible control (risk minimization) option?
Although roads on inclines are more difficult to clear it would vastly improve road safety in general as well as help control combustible fuel levels and fire progression.
Overtaking lanes would also assist in this way; increasing the distance embers must travel before igniting and spreading flames.

Robert Stewart

16 Feb 2020

I've already submitted an 18 page submission for the review but left out 1 key point in Public Information and Warnings

* introduction of funding to enable families, businesses and schools to purchase/install UHF radios in their vehicles, homes, schools and work places so in event of a fire emergency like cudlee creek they have some sort of communication system to keep them in the loop#

The hash tag next to this point refers to back in 1983 where 27 MHz CB played an integral role in giving early warning to at risk towns and travelers on the road but also communication amongst farmer's who tackled Ash Wednesday as well

Robert Stewart > Robert Stewart

16 Feb 2020

It was a fairly common sight to see 27 MHz cbs in cars, truck's, fire appliances during the 80's as I still have my fathers old kraco 23 ch ssb radio he used during the 83 fire season

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Robert Stewart

17 Feb 2020

Hello Robert, Thank you for your further feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

John Stafford

15 Feb 2020

Developing policies and standards to reduce bush fire risk.

A fundamental issue that must be resolved in any bush fire review is whether we have made any progress at all in learning to live with the eucalyptus trees that occupy much of southern Australia.

The fires that ensued from the horrific weather conditions experienced in January 1939 destroyed 90 houses in the Adelaide Hills and razed much of the state of Victoria. Oddly enough we have just experienced a far too similar repeat. Both events have served to demonstrate that under severe weather conditions, no post-ignition reactive control measure can stop a eucalyptus canopy fire.

Subsequent to 1939 we have established numerous conservation parks and crown land reserves in the Adelaide Hills where native vegetation has been allowed to form a natural climax. This is where the near exhaustion of soil moisture reserves determines the mass of vegetation that is allowed to accrue. In practice every plant in this vegetation association is annually subjected to moisture stress where only the fittest survive.

In the case of eucalyptus trees, the water content of their foliage is reduced thus raising the eucalyptus oil to water ratio and making the leaves highly volatile. (There was an instance in the Cudlee Creek fire where radiant heat from the flaming canopy of a single row of modest sized eucalyptus trees cooked every vine in an adjacent vineyard that was within 60 metres of the trees). Leaf eating koalas that normally do not have to drink water are now being subjected to long periods of tortuous thirst. Eventually (if they survive long enough) they are put out of their misery by being burned alive in a raging wild fire.

Years ago, native vegetation under aboriginal management was maintained in a sub-climax state where adequate moisture reserves were retained in the soil to the benefit of both plant and animal life. Have fire disasters associated with white European settlement been the result of innocent ignorance, arrogant indifference or culpable incompetence?

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SA Bushfire Review Project Team > John Stafford

17 Feb 2020

Hello John, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Lesley Friedrich

14 Feb 2020

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
First thing is to ensure all relevant experts have a say at the table before any decisions are made...with the right scientists who understand the needs of the land for sustainability, as well as environmentalists, farmers, indigenous people, plant biologists, water managers, people who understand animal habitat requirements as well as councils, and all others who have a stake in this, and somehow gain agreement to the best management plan. It should not be a win for the party who has the loudest voice ( or most money behind it). A big ask!
Some considerations :
Consider periodic grazing by sheep in forests?
Controlled collection of firewood -for consideration?...Need to balance with needs for animal/bird/fungi habitat.
Indigenous methods for burning off to be considered. Any burn off strategy to make consideration to minimise the loss of living species within the area.
Undergrounding all new powerlines and perhaps some old lines to prevent ignition of fires.
Consider grants/rebates for rural landowners for fire safety measures such as rainwater tanks, farm firefighting units, roof sprinklers? (Were available for a short time after Sampson Flat Fire.)
Grants to assist landowners in hazard reduction of property. (Eg cost and effort of removing trees close to the house is prohibitive for some landowners in high risk areas. Especially retired property owners.
Boundary firebreaks of mown grass on rural properties, looks nice, but useless for slowing down fire fronts in big fires like we had this summer. Roadside verges overgrown one side of the fence, firebreak on the other, when many summer paddocks are grazed down anyway?
Increase Community awareness of the problems associated with planting introduced species that are declared weeds in their garden. These compete with non natives and flourish on roadsides and in bushland. Have different burning qualities. Nurseries shouldn’t be allowed to sell them. Eg lantana. More financial Support for groups such as Trees for life who do a fantastic job of removing the declared pests from bushland to restore the native areas back to how they should be. Bring the Aboriginals into this conversation to manage the land better.
If /Where large cleared areas are deemed necessary as firebreaks, consider wooded corridors for animal movement.
During and after bushfires, make consideration for people who are not on the internet or who are disadvantaged by language barriers, deafness-or other disability, when mobile and /or internet access is unavailable.
Insurance policies need to be easier to read and transparent, so that policy holders know exactly what they are covered for.
Is there a system to ensure distribution of charitable funds is fair and rort proofed? It is upsetting to bushfire affected people to hear that some people have double dipped or been successful in receiving more than their fair share of charitable funds, whilst others are suffering and unsupported, for whatever reason.

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Lesley Friedrich

17 Feb 2020

Hello Lesley, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Scott Jansons

14 Feb 2020

I said on Facebook the day the Duck Ponds Fire started here in Port Lincoln, and I have forgotten how many times I have said the same this summer. There are three things which could be done to enhance our ability to fight fires. These all apply to part 7 of the terms of reference.
#1 Incentives to recruit more CFS volunteers.
In regional areas there are very many volunteers, it is a community thing it's what people do. One of the noticeable things is the lack of inner city volunteers and younger volunteers.
I propose that individuals willing to actively volunteer with the CFS receive a concession on their HECS Debts. This should provide a far more equitable provision of reinforcements when needed in campaign fires . Sure these people are not generally in regional areas meaning they are not able to be first res-ponders, however they can be bussed to incidents to relieve crews to continue fighting or mopping up. Also provision of Emergency Services Levy Exemptions for volunteers would be an incentive to boost recruitment.
It comes down to the saying many hands makes lighter work!
#2 Insurance companies should be sponsoring fire fighting assets, if a million dollar home is lost they need to pay up. However instead of looking at it that way, a million dollars would buy 10 fire trucks. If those 10 trucks saved just one million dollar asset they have paid for themselves. It really seems like a sensible approach. If we look at the Yorketown fire and the cost of that fire alone in loss of property and crops and machinery, it equates to an extra fire appliance for every CFS station on the Yorke Peninsula. And that makes a significant difference in the response capability where every station is able to deploy at least one unit without seriously compromising the ability to respond to new incidents.
Wise man once told me "You are better looking at it, than looking for it", more volunteers and more appliances is a good start.
#3 Technology
We will look back on the 19/20 season in the same way we look back on ash Wednesday with fires being fought with wet heshin sacks and hand pumps. I spent many hours listening to the GRN during the KI fire, it sounded organised to the credit of those involved however it sounded at times there is tech advancements that are needed to better coordinate efforts in large scale fires. I'm not a fire fighter, I'm a fisherman, so I bring a different perspective to things, perhaps a different way to look at things. In our industry we have had a major move towards integrated interface in our electronics. To me it sounds like CFS don't have such a comprehensive interface system.
To me what CFS needs is a system able to show all these on the same map at the same time.
*Where the fire is
*Where the appliances are
*What the appliances are
*What task the appliances are doing
*Appliance status (i.e. water levels)
*Terrain
*Weather Conditions
*Prioritised Assets (i.e. Soles undertaking stay and defend)

So to start with CFS has good GPS mapping, the better the mapping the better the system would work.
Onto that mapping there needs to be a real time feed of fire location. This comes from an asset we don't currently have being a high altitude UAV (like the military versions) with thermal imaging sensors. This one machine would be a game changer, it would have the ability to generate a 3D GPS map showing not only the fire and it's behaviour and intensity, but also provide a communications relay point and appliance tracking relay.
This sort of interfaced system makes things far more efficient and safer. Coms cars are then under less pressure in reporting, however with less reliance would be able to deploy wind speed & direction beacons in strategic locations, info that feeds into the real time map.
I mean the tech world really is an oyster that is not out of reach. All we have to do to get our fire defence capabilities to the level of our military defence capabilities is to convince the politicians to take a pension cut

Scott Jansons > Scott Jansons

14 Feb 2020

I'm sorry to end there so abruptly, this page took offence to me talking about politicians income, and became mostly unusable and bugged. I mean you never see their (politicians) houses burn down, they spend all our money on having the best sprinklers and WTF else for their own homes.
I mean hell burn a few politicians homes down and then we will have some reduced impacts, until then I'll keep a few heshen sacks handy ;)

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Scott Jansons

14 Feb 2020

Hello Scott, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Adam Leske

13 Feb 2020

Go back to back burning like the old days
Have sheep in the bushland to keep the grass down it worked back in those days
Just go back to the old methods that work years going back common sense

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Adam Leske

14 Feb 2020

Hello Adam, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team

Alex Wilson

13 Feb 2020

Allow the general public back into the bush. There are far too many locks gates in this country. There is so much conversation around prescribed burns, yet this comes at a cost. If gates were unlocked and general public allowed to travel through fire trails etc it would assist in keeping the tracks clear, and if we were able to collect fallen timber for firewood if would assist in reducing fuel load. This would be free preventative maintenance of our heavily vegetated areas.

Government Agency

SA Bushfire Review Project Team > Alex Wilson

14 Feb 2020

Hello Alex, Thank you for your feedback.
Regards Leigh, SA Bushfire Review Project Team