CFS saddles up for Tour Down Under
As thousands of cyclists and spectators prepare to enjoy some of South Australia's most scenic regional areas over the coming week, the Country Fire Service (CFS) has teamed up with the Santos Tour Down Under to ensure the safety of this high profile event.
The annual cycling race featuring six Stages, begins on Sunday (20 January) and marks the start of the season for the Union Cycliste International (UCI).
CFS crews will provide a fire fighting response through the regional areas where the Santos Tour Down Under will take place and will be among the emergency services support contingent including SA Metropolitan Fire Service, SA Police and SA Ambulance Service.
CFS State Coordinator Mark Thomason said cyclists will be passing through areas with significant grass fuel loads that have rapidly dried out and will pose a significant threat if ignited.
"We're now in our bushfire season and it is important for everyone who takes part in this event including cyclists and spectators, to be mindful of the fire risk," Mr Thomason said.
Stage Four of the Santos Tour Down Under on Friday (25 January) will feature a public ride between Modbury and Tanunda in the Barossa Valley, which will involve more than 8,000 cyclists.
"All Santos Tour Down Under spectators are asked to help reduce the risk of fire throughout the duration of the tour, by checking the daily Fire Danger Ratings on the CFS website and following some simple practices," Mr Thomason said.
"Spectators should be aware that barbecues are not permitted on days of Total Fire Ban, as they pose a fire risk and on any other day, the space immediately around and above the BBQ must be cleared of all flammable material to a distance of four metres," he said.
"A person who is able to control the fire must also be in attendance while it remains alight and an appropriate extinguisher must also be at hand. "
Vehicles lining the roads should be parked away from high-grass areas to prevent exhaust pipes igniting a fire and spectators choosing to smoke need to take extreme care when discarding cigarette butts.
Mr Thomason said spectators should stay alert on Total Fire Ban days and listen to ABC Local Radio or FIVEaa for bushfire information.
"Spectators should also be aware of road closures and plan their escape route should a fire start", he said.
For more information on Fire Bans visit the CFS website at www.cfs.sa.gov.au or contact the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.