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Dry Summer prompts fire warning for SA grain growers

Photo Simon May

SA Grain Growers warned “Don’t be a Bright Spark” in new GPSA campaign

With an early start to the grain harvest, South Australia grain producers are being warned against complacency this harvest through Grain Producers SA’s (GPSA) ‘Bright Spark’ campaign.

“With the forecast of a drier summer, we need every single grain producer in South Australia doing as much as they can to prevent a harvest fire,” GPSA Chief Executive Officer Brad Perry said.

Thanks to advocacy from GPSA, with overwhelming support from South Australian grain producers, growers can continue using the Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) measured at two metres as they have safely done for more than a decade.
Mr Perry said the Don’t Be a Bright Spark’ campaign has been an effective reminder of grain producers’ responsibilities on-farm.

“Fire in grain production is an ever-present threat but we also know that our grain producers are some of the best prepared in the country, equipped with water and farm firefighting units and with many also owning former firefighting vehicles.

“Our ‘Don’t Be a Bright Spark’ awareness campaign is aimed at putting the emphasis on fire prevention in grain producers’ hands by providing a reminder of their obligations under the Grain Harvesting Code.

“If it’s too hot or too windy or the conditions feel dangerous to harvest in, we are saying, refer to the Grain Harvesting Code and follow the steps in our campaign to Prepare, Maintain, Monitor, Be Safe and Communicate. ”

As part of the campaign, GPSA has produced a series of fact sheets on the five simple steps to help farmers manage their fire preparations on farm. These, along with copies of the GFDI Grain Harvest Operations Table, are available to download on the GPS website.

“If you have any doubts about harvesting on a day where the weather is challenging check the Grain Harvesting Code and if you still have doubts, speak to your neighbouring farmers and community and see whether others are harvesting too.

Bushfires and grass fires can undo years of soil conservation and biodiversity improvements in the blink of an eye, so we are encouraging grain producers to be as prepared as possible. Employers must understand their obligations when their staff attend a fire, either when responding on behalf of their employer or self-responding and ensure all staff are appropriately trained and
equipped in the event of a fire. It’s important grain producers continue to do the right thing and maintain the highest standards of fire safety.”

As part of this year’s ‘Bright Spark’ campaign, GPSA will be sending out reminder text messages to grain producers throughout harvest to remind them of the need to adhere to the Grain Harvesting Code.
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