Fire season starts

Trees – planting them or cutting them down – are a constant source of news articles for The Courier.
Hills dwellers love the environment in which they live and are extremely protective of it. Conversely, they are also conscious of the bushfire risk and the need to reduce fuel load.
The two pursuits are not always at odds but sometimes they clash with one resident’s vision of a bush haven being another resident’s nightmare of an inferno waiting to happen.
All of this is set against a reality of declining biodiversity and remnant vegetation in the Mt Lofty Ranges and a significant increase in population from 50 years ago.
So it is timely that the universities of SA and Adelaide have joined forces to do a three-year study exploring the balance between conservation values and bushfire risk.
Their work will focus on community perceptions about how best to manage vegetation in peri-urban areas – where houses meet rural land and bush – both here in the Hills and on the lower Eyre Peninsula.
It is hoped that by talking to both the experts in native vegetation and bushfire management, and the people who choose to live in this environment, recommendations can be made about planning and population management as well as community education and engagement.
Surveys for the study will be sent out to random households in the coming weeks and residents are encouraged to take part.
Hills people are also urged to take heed of Sunday’s warm and extremely windy conditions.
The district only recorded one out of control burn-off compared with the 22 elsewhere in the State but it was one too many.
Now is the time to burn-off but property owners have a responsibility to the rest of the community to make sure they light up in appropriate conditions and that they look at the forecast conditions two and three days ahead to make sure they reduce the risk of flare-ups from embers.
If the weekend is the only time available to burn and the conditions are not right leading into the new week, consider other alternatives.
Leave the pile for another time or take advantage of the free green waste days provided by the Mt Barker and Adelaide Hills councils on Saturday, October 18.