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Seasonal Firefighters with some of the tools of the trade

Project Firefighter Recruitment

The National Parks SA Fire Management Program employs between 75 and 100 Project Firefighters (PFFs) every year who work for nine months from spring to autumn. They are based across 13 different worksites all across the state, and fighting fires and prescribed burning are just a part of the diverse range of tasks that they do in our National Parks and reserves.

Weed control pre and post burn is a highly important job and 10 staff are dedicated to this work full time when they are not involved in prescribed burning or fighting fires. This program is especially important in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Region where there is a high level of disturbance weeds present across the landscape, many of which are fire responsive.

Track upgrades and maintenance works are another area of work that keep crews busy, as they ensure that tracks within the parks are safe to use for fire prevention and suppression. This also keeps the tracks nice for park visitors to walk and ride their bikes on. They do a lot of brushcutting and chainsawing along the edges of tracks to make sure the fire vehicles can travel down them safely without having to fight through overgrown vegetation.

In different regional areas across the State Project Firefighters get a different perspective again, working across vast areas and doing all kinds of work from fencing to using large machinery to maintain fire breaks.

Our PFFs have just finished their nine month seasonal contracts, and while many will return, fire management staff are looking for the next round of applicants to start work in spring.

You can see some of the faces of Fire Management in our new short video. Find out what motivates them and see some of the different jobs they might do on a day to day basis. Who knows, at the end of it you might feel inspired to apply yourself!

Fire Management Officer Libby counting native plant germination post burn

Threatened plant population booms following burn

It's always exciting for Fire Management ecologists and staff when we see the positive impact that fire can have on native plant species. It means that all the environmental asessments, monitoring, careful planning and weed control that goes into every prescribed burn on the program is really making a difference. It also proves that when well considered, fire can be used as a tool to improve the health of our native ecosystems.

This was the case with a population of Veronica Derwentiana subsp. homalodonta (Mount Lofty Speedwell), an EPBC listed critically engangered shrub. Environmental assessments in Scott Creek Conservation Park revealed a small population of around 30 plants to be present before the burn was undertaken. No new seedlings had been recorded at the site since the beginning of the monitoring activities. The burn was undertaken in spring 2016 and follow up counts have revealed the presence of 232 new seedlings in the site in the following months! This represents more than a 700% increase in the population of this rare, endemic species to the site as a result of these activities.

You can see the Mount Lofty Speedwell in the photo above. It is a lush, medium shrub, that could be mistaken for a weed due to its bright, lime green colour. It produces beautiful white flowers in spring, and can live for up to 25 years!

This is just one of numerous other native species that can be stimulated with the use of fire in the landscape. Many endangered orchids are also recorded following fire, which gives them the oportunity to emerge. The important thing with these results is what the team do next, which is the follow up with more monitoring and weed control  to ensure that weeds don't take over and outcompete the natives once more.

Fire Management at the World Environment Fair

Fire and the environment at the fair

World Environment Day weekend saw the launch of a new event this year at the Adelaide Showgrounds and the Fire Management team was there showcasing our equipment and information. 

Communtiy members had the oportuntiy to speak to staff from the National Parks SA Fire management brigade, dress up as a firefighter and find out more about what we do across the State for asset protection and environmental outcomes.

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