Reckless use of fireworks
With Australia Day approaching, and following numerous fires caused by reckless revellers on New Year's Eve, the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) is reminding local communities that lighting fireworks is illegal and can have a significant impact on surrounding communities.
Every year during the Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Australia Day holiday period, the CFS attends a large number of senseless fires caused by fireworks, sparklers, flares and other ill-considered party activities.
In particular, with Australia Day approaching, the CFS is urging people not to use fireworks.
Extremely dry fuel loads and long hot weather conditions mean the risks of fire have remained consistently high since November.
Even children playing with sparklers can result in fires. In one example from New Year's Eve, at Pelican Point on the River Murray, an iconic, old growth red gum on the local riverbank was burnt.
The fire took hold in the tree hollow and it became almost impossible to extinguish. Large trees can burn from within for days and even weeks.
Mid-Murray CFS Group Deputy Officer David Lindner, said, "It was really disappointing to have our local volunteers repeatedly called away from their own celebrations to attend fires started by people who were reckless."
"Although it was a small fire, this one little incident still required multiple turnouts from CFS volunteers during the early hours of the following day. Lots of people went sleepless that night. Together, the combined volunteer effort for this single incident totalled 51 hours," said Mr Lindner.
"The tree had to be completely lopped in order to ensure it was safe. An iconic tree was destroyed, but more importantly, people need to understand the risks of fires in this area where shacks closely neighbour dry lignum floodplains."
Every year, fireworks results in serious injuries and fires. Unless you are a licensed pyro-technician, it is an offence at any time of the year to use, buy or import fireworks, or to have fireworks in your possession or custody.
The South Australian Police regularly target people using fireworks during these periods.
The CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au provides lots of useful information on activities permitted and banned during the fire ban season.