South Australian local councils play a critical role in keeping communities safe from bushfires, as evidenced in the release of the 2017-2018 ‘Safer Places’ and ‘Last Resort Refuges’ by the Country Fire Service (CFS).
CFS Director Preparedness Operations Leigh Miller said the long-standing relationship between the CFS and local councils had been vital to the development of two categories of places that can offer relative safety to residents in the event of a bushfire.
Their publication on the CFS website was the result of more than a year of consultation and planning between authorities including the CFS, state government and councils across South Australia.
Director of Preparedness Operations for the CFS Leigh Miller said: “There is a well-established and important network between CFS Regional Prevention Officers and local council fire prevention officers.
“We leverage this network to help us provide community education around Bushfire Safer Places and bushfire prevention.
“I’d like to emphasise that this is a partnership between the CFS and councils and we really value that relationship.”
Many of the CFS ‘Safer Places’, of which there are more than 400 state-wide, and ‘Last Resort Refuges’ are contained within properties and assets owned by councils.
Mr Miller said: “For that reason we needed to make sure that councils were comfortable with the locations because of the maintenance requirements for low levels of vegetation and upkeep.”
Local government has representatives who serve on the nine Bushfire Management Committees (BMC) strategically located throughout South Australia:
- Lower Eyre Peninsula BMC (Port Lincoln)
- Upper Eyre Peninsula
- Outback BMC (Port Augusta)
- Flinders Mid North York BMC (Willaston)
- Murray Mallee BMC (Murray Bridge)
- Kangaroo Island BMC
- Fleurieu BMC
- Limestone Coast BMC
Each committee has a Bushfire Management Plan and provides a channel for feedback and input to the CFS from a local level.
The CFS, in consultation with the LGA and councils, worked with the Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas to implement signage for the 96 ‘Last Resort Refuges’ across the state. Installation of Last Resort Refuge signs across high- risk bushfire regions in South Australia has begun, and will be completed ahead of the bushfire season, the Minister said.
What is a Bushfire Safer Place?
These are contained within the Adelaide Metropolitan area, outer suburbs and rural settlements;
- Can be used if you need to relocate early;
- Are Suitable for use during forecast bad fire weather or during bushfire;
- May be subject to sparks, embers and smoke.
What is a Last Resort Refuge?
In rural areas, a Last Resort Refuge is usually an oval or building that can be used if your Bushfire Survival Plan has failed. They are not suitable for extended us and provide only limited protection during bushfires.
Bushfire Safer Places and Last Resort Refuges are not a Bushfire Survival Plan. Visit the CFS website to assess the bushfire risk to your household and create a Bushfire Survival Plan.