Vinehealth Australia has been requested by National Parks and Wildlife Service SA (NPWSSA) to facilitate communication with vineyard owners located within a predetermined radius of proposed Autumn prescribed burns in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges.
This communication focuses on five key areas provided by NPWSSA:
- How NPWSSA manages prescribed burns
- How you can proactively stay informed about the burns
- How and when you might be contacted once a prescribed burn is locked in
- Who to contact if you have any concerns about an upcoming prescribed burn
- Changes in identifying potentially impacted growers for 2022
How NPWSSA manages prescribed burns
Prescribed burns are conducted under controlled conditions on public or private land, in strategically chosen locations, in partnership with local landholders and the CFS. They are done to reduce fuel in an environmentally sensitive way and regenerate plant and animal habitats.
NPWSSA plans their prescribed burns months in advance, however, only locks them in 2 to 3 days prior if the conditions are right. This is after consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology to consider direction of the smoke and potential inversion layers, to minimise potential smoke impacts to grapegrowers and to ensure everyone stays safe.
If NPWSSA knows you still have grapes to harvest, then they’ll only proceed if they are confident that they can manage the risk. Click here to read more about NPWSSA’s smoke management strategies.
How you can proactively stay informed about the burns
You are advised to proactively keep up to date with timings of the prescribed burns by:
- Signing up for updates from NPWSSA straight to your email inbox.
- Monitoring the status of prescribed burns via NPWSSA’s interactive map. This map shows the location of burns and their status (proposed, 7 days prior to ignition, 24 hours prior to ignition, patrolling, and safe). Note: there is rarely 7 days warning as most burns can only be locked in 2 to 3 days in advance because they are so highly dependent on specific weather conditions.
- Visiting the CFS website.
- Monitoring social media.
How and when you might be contacted when a prescribed burn is locked in
- NPWSSA will notify you of a prescribed burn by letter drop if your property directly adjoins a prescribed burn site.
- On a case-by-case basis, NPWSSA may ask Vinehealth Australia to contact you within 1-3 days of a burn to find out whether you have finished harvest. These instances are most likely to be associated with critical burns, larger burns and ones where weather may be changeable. Contact by Vinehealth Australia will focus on those growers identified as downwind from the burn. New for 2022, the contact will incorporate use of a text messaging service.
Who to contact if you have any concerns about an upcoming prescribed burn
For 2022, if you have any concerns about an upcoming prescribed burn due to unharvested grapes, please contact Brett Williams (NPWSSA Senior Regional Fire Management Officer) on 0457 512 035, or the NPWSSA Regional Fire Duty Officer on 0423 027 346.
Changes in identifying potentially impacted growers for 2022
To ensure those vineyards most at risk from smoke drift during each prescribed burn can be more adequately identified, two new changes have been instigated for this year:
- A scalable radius has been applied to burns according to the size of the burn (approximating duration of burn activity) and fuel type being treated (affecting the volume of smoke output from the burn); and
- Each buffer radius has been drawn from the edge of the burn, not the centre, to better account for the influence of wind direction.
As always, please ensure your contact details are up to date on Vinehealth’s Register to ensure you can be contacted at short notice.