SA Country Fire Service

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Harvest fire numbers drop

11/11/2015

The number of harvest related fires has dropped in the past five years. This decrease is largely due to the introduction of the Voluntary Grain Harvest Code of Practice.

The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) recently conducted a review of the Codes of Practice in partnership with Grain Producers SA, and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) with input provided by grain producers, harvest contractors, and Bushfire Management Committees.

"CFS investigation of harvest fire statistics indicate there has been a decline not only the instance of harvest fires but also the loss in assets from those fires," said Director of Preparedness Operations, Leigh Miller.

"From the 180 responses received, 76 per cent of all respondents showed their support for the Code to remain unchanged."

"The Grass Fire Danger Index (GFDI) is used as the trigger to stop harvesting, and after the review has been left at 35. This is despite minor changes to the supporting documentation in order to reflect changes in legislation since the Code was first introduced in 2005."

"Clearly the partnership generated through these Codes of Practice is working, but we need all grain farmers to continue to be vigilant to ensure we decrease the occurrence of harvest fires even more."

"Operators should practice good header hygiene by cleaning down between loads and ensure all maintenance is carried out in a timely manner."

"If the required farm fire unit is sent to fight fires, harvesting and associated activities should stop until the unit returns to the paddock with its water supply replenished."

The CFS encourages all harvest operators to use the Code whether their operations are within the prescribed Fire Danger Season or not. CFS also recommends the use of the tips and tricks from the Grains Research and Development Corporation's 'Harvest Operations Back Pocket Guide'.

Farmers are also encouraged to use the current 'Grain Harvesting Operations Table' stickers or get replacements from the nearest CFS Regional Office or Grain Producers SA.

More information on the Voluntary Grain Harvesting Code of Practice can be found on the CFS website - cfs.sa.gov.au, from your Regional CFS Office or Grains Producers SA.

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Further information:
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