The autumn season of prescribed burns will commence in mid to late March in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region, depending on weather and fuel conditions.
The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) undertakes burns to reduce fuel hazards, manage native vegetation and protect biodiversity in strategic areas in South Australia.
Every year in this region, DEWs autumn prescribed burn program partially overlaps with the wine grape harvest. DEW is aware of the potential impact smoke may have on wine grapes and has adopted a risk reduction strategy as outlined in their fact sheet. DEW fire management staff will always work to reduce any risk of smoke taint but must balance this with the need to reduce the bushfire risk to the community. This includes reducing the risk of an uncontrolled bushfire impacting on grape growers and other primary producers.
For the past few vintages, Vinehealth Australia has acted as a conduit between DEW and grape growers to advise growers adjacent to scheduled prescribed burns of an imminent burn and to advise DEW of harvest status of growers adjacent to these burns, to highlight presence of unharvested grapes. For vintage 2019, Vinehealth Australia will continue in the same role. The ability of Vinehealth Australia to undertake this role effectively, relies heavily on growers maintaining correct contact details in the vineyard register.
For a complete list of DEW’s planned burns go to the interactive prescribed burns webpage: https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/fire-management/upcoming-prescribed-burns. All growers are strongly encouraged to maintain a watching brief on this website. You can also sign up to receive the latest fire news, prescribed burns and research information here.
If you have concerns about DEW’s upcoming prescribed burns at any time, please contact Fire Management, Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges on 8336 0901 or email DEWNRFireManagement@sa.gov.au.