February CFS Column with Sara Oljey
For the past three months local CFS volunteers have been responding to an average of one call out every day, according to Two Wells CFS captain, Adam Harris.
And with the state suffering through its second heat wave of the summer recently, and more hot weather on the way, property owners need to be prepared and vigilant.
The brigade has also attended a variety of fires across the state, including the recent devastating Eden Valley fires, and fires at Ceduna on the Far West Coast, Flaxman Valley, Krondorf, near Tanunda and Bangor, near Pt Pirie.
“This is huge compared to last summer,” Adam said.
“We’ve had a lot more major fires, hotter conditions and it’s been drier too.
“We haven’t had any significant summer rains this year, so everything is crispy, crispy.”
Adam advised all landowners to ensure they have a bush fire action plan in place, saying the CFS website had a lot of information and advice to help people get started.
“We’ve done 129 call outs since the start of the financial year,” he said.
“And in October, November and December we did over 30 calls each month, so that’s almost once a day.
“And they’re not just little call outs either, they’ve sometimes been for hours on end.
“There have been a lot of man-hours involved.”
A grass fire near Gawler River Road on Wednesday January 29 burnt three hectares and destroyed a shed but fortunately its contents were saved and no one was injured.
Adam said the fire started as a result of a pile of lawn clippings spontaneously combusting.
“If clippings are piled up they can build up a lot of heat and then combust with a bit of wind and off it goes,” he said.
“If it’s spread out it doesn’t usually happen.
“If people are going to be using their mowers at this time of year they really should consider having nearby a shovel, rake or hose in case of any sparks, because it does happen, people need to use caution and not be complacent.”
Having easy access to water, preferably rainwater in case of a power outage, was also a good idea, Adam said, as was a fire pump on their rainwater tank, or a petrol-driven pump attached to their pool.
CFS volunteers have also attended a few minor road accidents over the summer including one at the intersection of Brooks Rd and Old Port Wakefield Road, Two Wells where the rescue helicopter landed on the oval.
According to the website willyweather.com.au, over the past month Two Wells recorded its highest temperature of 45.4 degrees on January 16, its lowest of 11.2 degrees on January 7 and had an average temperature of 24.7 degrees.
For the same period last year the average temperature was 23.1 degrees.
Lewiston recorded its hottest day also on January 16, with a top temperature of 46.4 degrees.
On the same day in Mallala, it was 46.4 degrees, Dublin 46.4 degrees, and Virginia 45.4 degrees.