SA hort growers trading as normal following bushfire

Growers and retailers are trading ‘as normal’ in South Australia, but remain on high alert as bush fires in the state’s Mid North, spanning 265km, are being brought under control. “The majority of the big fires have been happening in really dry country in Mallala, where there are grain crops growing. Those crops are quite flammable, and you have to ask ‘how am I going to stop that?’ says Adelaide Markets Marketing Manager Julian Carbone. “It only takes one little spark in the right conditions, but a lot of horticultural crops are grown in areas with a lot of green around, with more access to water.”

Most horticultural crops that could be affected are situated in less dense area, where there is not a lot of scrub. In the case of potato, carrot and onion growers supplying the markets, if the fields were to catch light they could switch on central pumps and wet the area very quickly, Mr Carbone adds. “A lot of the crops like tomatoes, zucchini eggplant and cucumber are also grown in glasshouses, and those have not been affected.”

As roads reopen two days after the fires began, and relief centres are set up in the hardest hit areas of what is known as ‘The Pinery’ fire, Country Fire Service and rescue crews continue to battle the flames. 

Fires have so far destroyed 35 houses and 166 sheds, according to media reports, and tragically killed two residents: 69 year old farmer Allan Tiller, and a 56 year old woman from Hamley Bridge. It is not immediately clear how the fires started, however it is not suspected that they were deliberately lit. 

Life is returning to normal, Mr Carbone says, and the recent fires are very different to those that ripped through the Adelaide Hills area, where there was dense scrub and deadwood to fuel the blaze. “This has primarily affected grain crops.”

To stay updated about the efforts to contain the bushfires, please visit the Country Fire Service website: 


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