Bushfire information for primary producers

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Farming guidelines for the reduction of bushfire risk

The South Australian Government is committed to reducing the risk of bushfires to primary producers, the community and the environment. The Farming Guidelines for the Reduction of Bushfire Risk, (‘the Guidelines’) has been developed to provide farmers with a clear and consistent approach to the management of farms to reduce the risk of bushfire.

Farming guidelines for the reduction of bushfire risk

Grain harvesting code of practice (PDF 463.6 KB or DOC 268.5 KB)

Livestock safety in bushfires

Livestock owners are reminded of measures to take in case of the threat of bushfire on their property. Planning should start well before the bushfire season and be part of ongoing property management.

While caring for livestock and other animals before and after a bushfire is essential, personal safety should be considered as a first priority on all occasions.

Livestock safety during bushfires checksheet

Livestock Safety During Bushfires – Check Sheet

These are measures livestock owners can take in case of the threat of fire on their property. Planning however should start well before the bushfire season and be part of ongoing property management.

Personal safety should be considered as a first priority on all occasions.

Commencement of the bushfire season

A plan should be prepared detailing where to put stock in the event of a fire:

  • A ‘safe paddock’ close to the homestead or yards, should be hard-grazed or slashed (size, water access, and secure fencing of the paddock are important to consider). This paddock should be reserved for use in the event of a bushfire.
  • Consider your options for housing or moving animals to a safer place. Consideration should be given to safe havens and safe travel routes, including alternative routes. This may include agistment in a safer region for the fire danger season or moving animals on high fire risk days.

During the fire danger season

During the Fire Danger Season, monitor the daily Fire Danger Rating issued by the Bureau of Meterology and know what actions you will take if a bushfire starts.

Listen to the ABC local radio for regular updates and bushfire bulletins.

Before a bushfire comes through

  • Once a bushfire starts, all livestock owners in the vicinity of a bushfire should assess the safety conditions that prevail for their livestock.
  • Livestock should be moved to the ‘safe paddock’, or an area of the property where dry grass, timber or anything that might fuel a bushfire is at a minimum. Livestock should not be let out onto public roads.
  • Assessment and movement of livestock should be implemented well in advance of a bushfire front passing through the property.

After a bushfire passes

  • Livestock should be carefully assessed for burns or injury after the bushfire front has passed, and it is safe to return to them.
  • Veterinary advice should be sought for any livestock that may be suffering from burns or other injuries after bushfire.
  • Ensure dead animals are appropriately disposed of to minimise disease risks and impacts on the environment, water courses, etc.
  • Ensure permanent or temporary fencing is adequate.
  • Provide surviving livestock with access to good quality clean water, suitable fodder, and shade if possible.
  • Animals recovering from burns should be placed in a separate paddock or yard where they can be inspected regularly and nursed well.

Recovering after bushfires

Land management (DOC 187.0 KB) - factors for landholders to consider when restoring their agricultural land and properties after bushfires.

Livestock management (DOC 201.0 KB) - livestock welfare advice and considerations after bushfires.

Further information

Contact your local Biosecurity SA – Animal Health Adviser or Field Vet or visit the Country Fire Service website

Risk Management for Stock Owners in times of fire and flood (PDF)

District Council of Elliston, Bushfire Prevention and Preparedness - A guide for residents and landholders (PDF)

Assessing sheep after a bushfire

How can Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) help?

PIRSA may provide assistance to farmers and producers affected by bushfires, usually where there are significant numbers of animals needing assessment.

This includes assistance to locate, inspect and assess burnt livestock and provide advice on how to access veterinary services for animals requiring on-going treatment. PIRSA may also assist with euthanasia of severely burnt livestock if urgently required on welfare grounds.

PIRSA staff may also be involved with estimating rural property losses and damage, coordinating the supply and distribution of emergency fodder, water, fencing and other materials, and implementing recovery measures, including advice on any financial relief that may be available, livestock management and reestablishment of farming businesses.

Farmers needing assistance in the event of a bushfire should call their local Biosecurity SA Animal Health Adviser.