Are you prepared for bushfire risk or power outages in the coming summer?

Are you prepared for bushfire risk or power outages in the coming summer?

According to all the latest information South Australia is heading into a potentially very serious bushfire season.

Weather forecasters and emergency service leaders are concerned that several factors together

mean we are likely to see more fires of greater consequence than in recent seasons.

Those factors include successive seasons of good rains due to the La Nina effect, which has promoted significant growth in vegetation; a likely El Nino event in 2023-24 bringing dryer conditions and hotter temperatures for more extended periods.

We have been preparing for many months to maintain power reliability during summer months and also have the electricity distribution network in the best shape possible to minimise the risk of fire starts from our infrastructure in extreme conditions. This has included asset inspections and presummer vegetation trimming in bushfire risk areas.

Often bushfires occur in extreme conditions when we have very hot days and significant winds that make it difficult for fire fighters to contain their spread.

Given these conditions are likely over summer, we recommend you plan for the potential for power outages due to the extreme conditions, actual bushfire, or because we have acted to disconnect power as a last resort to protect communities from bushfire.

Even if you are located in a non-bushfire risk area, such as a regional township, power is likely to be supplied by power lines that do run through bushfire risk areas, so it is wise to plan on the basis that power supply may be at risk.

It also is important to be aware that if power is lost, there is potential for an extended outage before electricity supply can be safely restored. The duration of the outage will depend on the location and extent of fire damage and our ability to access fire grounds to make repairs.

With the fire season fast approaching (and potentially an early start to the season) now is the time to complete your own fire protection planning and preparations. This may include:

  • Ensuring you have a back-up plan in case you lose power supply for any reason (in a bushfire emergency, back-up generation should be considered for water pumping if you are planning to stay and fight a fire).
  • Ensuring you can monitor fire danger forecasts and actual fast-moving fire conditions
  • Keeping battery-powered devices charged to facilitate information gathering and c communication
  • Ensuring people in your care (your family or your organisation) understand what they should do in case of a fire or the loss of power supply
  • Having plans in place to manage the safety of clients/ customers in case of fire or loss of power supply
  • Knowing how to undertake key tasks when there is no power – such as how to turn off the main power switches in your meter box; how to open an automatic garage door manually; operation of electric doors in business/community facilities.
  • Ensuring you are well prepared ahead of any forecast extreme or catastrophic fire days.

More information on preparing for bushfire can be found at the South Australian Country Fire Service website