Growers urged to be proactive ahead of catastrophic fire conditions

Growers urged to be proactive ahead of catastrophic fire conditions

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FIRE RISK: Grain Producers SA are urging growers to be extremely cautious when making decisions about harvesting today, ahead of catastrophic fire conditions tomorrow.

FIRE RISK: Grain Producers SA are urging growers to be extremely cautious when making decisions about harvesting today, ahead of catastrophic fire conditions tomorrow.

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GRAIN Producers SA is calling on growers to proactively manage the risks of fire danger as South Australia braces for tomorrow's catastrophic fire danger conditions.

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GRAIN Producers SA is calling on growers to proactively manage the risks of fire danger as South Australia braces for tomorrow's catastrophic fire danger conditions.

GPSA chair Wade Dabinett says a fire started due to harvest may not be controlled in advance of forecast weather conditions tomorrow.

"We, as grain growers across the state, need to be vigilant in protecting the safety of our families and workers, our communities and their volunteers and our businesses by ensuring we are proactive in managing the risks tomorrow presents," Mr Dabinett said.

"We have a community of people outside of agriculture who are trusting us that we can manage any risks associated with grain harvest through the SA Grain Harvesting Code of Practice.

"This means following all actions outlined in the code in the spirit in which they were written - to prioritise the safety of people.

"We are asking growers to use common sense and to mitigate any risk which could start a fire - you do not want to be the person responsible for starting a fire in the next couple of days which then gets out of control."

Mr Dabinett said since its introduction over a decade ago, the code has worked well in SA to reduce the incidence and severity of harvest fires while enabling harvest operations based on conditions at a local level.

"Growers' ability to be able to monitor conditions and make decisions to harvest at a paddock level is so important for our industry.

We are encouraging all growers not to take this for granted but to know and use the code to reduce the risks of fire to their own property, their neighbours and their community," he said.

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In 2016, GPSA and the Country Fire Service launched the successful Know Your Code campaign which encouraged growers to abide by the code and outlines the conditions under which grain harvesting and handling should occur in the paddock.

This includes the operation of grain harvesters, vehicles involved in grain transport, and grain dryers and augers.

As well as providing a checklist for growers to ensure they are adhering to the on-farm actions of the code, the Know Your Code campaign encourages growers to take five simple steps to help reduce the risk of harvester fires: 1. Preparation, 2. Maintenance, 3. Monitoring, 4. Safe operations and 5. Communication.

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