The South Australian forest and timber industries warmly welcome the Chief Officers of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) and the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) to Mount Gambier ahead of the 2023-24 bushfire season.
“It is a critical initiative for the forest and timber industries to invite the Chief’s of the CFS and MFS to partake in the South Australian Forest Products Association (SAFPA) Seedling to Structure Tour, allowing them to witness, firsthand, the importance of our value chain and the critical need to protect the fibre in the ground and the devastation that would occur if a bushfire broke out amongst the plantations”, said Mr Nathan Paine, Chief Executive Officer of SAFPA.
“With deadly wildfires wreaking havoc in Canada, Hawaii and Europe, we need to remain vigilant as we enter 2023-24 bushfire season. Already the Bureau of Meteorology remains alert and on watch as there is a 70% chance that El Nino conditions could develop later this year, leaving authorities concerned of an increased fire risk due to grass and vegetation growth”, said Mr Paine.
“Our forest industries remain on the front foot, investing around $5 million per year in fire prevention, detection and firefighting to ensure their assets and regional communities are protected – this includes more than 300 firefighters, a firefighting helicopter, along with our specialist firefighting tankers and associated equipment”, continued Mr Paine.
“In conjunction with the State Governments $2.3 million investment into landscape level fire detection network, our industry and indeed all landscape users are more bushfire ready, yet it is critical for our industry to work in collaboration with the CFS and MFS to immediately respond to any major bushfires that may threaten regional communities,” said Mr Paine.
“We need to be armored and educated to the best of our ability to protect our plantation estates and the associated manufacturing jobs and avoid any future losses,” continued Mr Paine.
“Thank you again to the State Government, MFS and CFS for their ongoing support and for continuing to acknowledge the importance our forest industries play in our regional and state economy”, concluded Mr Paine.