One year on from Pinery fire
Today marks one year since the devastating Pinery fire, one of the largest and fastest moving fires in South Australia’s history.
It is a day to remember those who lost their lives in the fire, and reflect on the loss of livestock, homes and infrastructure as the fire travelled across 82,000 hectares.
Over 1,000 SA Country Fire Service (CFS) volunteers and staff and over 200 MFS firefighters responded to the fire supported by other SA emergency services agencies and 311 Victorian firefighters.
An independent report into CFS’s operational response has determined that conditions experienced on the day of the fire prohibited any possibility of containment until the weather improved.
However, the fire presented learnings for the CFS across a range of areas including public information, aviation and interagency operations. An action plan was developed to address lessons learnt, with many of the actions already having been implemented by the CFS.
The impact of the fire is still being felt by the community and recovery activities are continuing to provide longer-term support to individuals, businesses and communities affected by the Pinery fire.
Community leaders have worked closely with the Local Recovery Coordinator and a range of agencies over the past year. This engagement has been vital to ensuring that recovery services could be designed around the needs of those affected by the fire.
The CFS continue to engage with the local community, assisting locals with bushfire and fire preparedness through events and workshops.
SA Police (SAPOL)’s Taskforce Pinery has determined the cause of the blaze that sadly claimed two lives was likely a car battery that was left alongside a wire fence in a paddock. A police report is still being prepared for the state coroner, who may also conduct a separate inquiry.
The Pinery fire was first reported at 12.05pm on 25 November 2015, and was controlled on 1 December 2015.
Damages from the fire have exceeded $75 million.
Two independent reports have been conducted into the operational response to the fire. Noetic Solutions have produced a report into CFS operations and Mingara produced a report into the SA Government Radio Network (SAGRN). Both reports are available at: www.safecom.sa.gov.au/site/publications.jsp.
The recovery hotline (1800 302 787) and the official recovery website at www.sa.gov.au/recovery continue to operate.
Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas said:
Today is a day of sadness and reflection as we mark one year since the Pinery fire.
The weather conditions experienced on the day of the Pinery fire saw the blaze take hold with extraordinary rapidity, disabling the ability of the CFS to contain the fire.
Today our condolences are with the families of those who sadly lost their lives in the fire. And with all those who lost livestock, homes, sheds and other infrastructure and who have felt the impact of this devastating event.
It’s also a time to urge all South Australians to prepare for bushfires. It is a reality of life in South Australia that we will encounter bushfires. It’s up to all of us to have a plan in place, ready to respond when they do occur.