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Operation Nomad – what you need to know for the Fire Danger Season 2019-20

Operation Nomad is the South Australia Police (SAPOL) response to the threat of bushfires in South Australia, supporting the work of the Country Fire Service (CFS) in preventing bushfires this summer.

SAPOL has commenced this year’s crime prevention strategy which aims to encourage the public to identify and report to police deliberate, reckless and negligent acts that cause bushfires.

Community means the whole state and people venturing into or through high risk fire areas as everyone can play a part in reporting deliberate, reckless or negligent behaviour.

What you will see from now through to May 2020 is a high visibility of police in all high fire risk areas.  Police will also be actively monitoring 81 persons of interest during this year’s fire danger season and demonstrating a zero tolerance approach to any breach of fire laws throughout this period.

With the assistance of the public and efforts of the police, people who start fires are already being caught. In just the first week of this year’s operation, police have reported 6 people and issued 23 expiation notices for a range of dangerous activities, most particularly light/maintain fire on a total fire ban day, and drop/throw burning object from vehicle – which is usually a cigarette butt. These behaviours attract on the spot fines of $375 and $560 respectively.

A number of people were reported on Total Fire Ban days from 30 October – 1 November 2019 for lighting fires. Police also issued expiation notices to a number of residents for conducting burn offs in the Adelaide Hillls after the Fire Danger Season commenced on 15 November 2019. In most instances people advised they had not checked CFS information before conducting burning activity.

These examples highlight that you need to be vigilant and know the Fire Danger Ratings and what you can and can’t do during the fire danger season. It also shows how the police and firefighters rely on the quick action of the public to prevent and control bushfires and apprehend those who don’t do the right thing.

Your responsibilities

Think about your actions around anything that is flammable or has potential to cause a fire such as:

SAPOL has a number of fact sheets providing tips on how to minimise the threat of bushfires:

You can help!

If you see anything suspicious, reckless or negligent immediately call 131 444 - Police Assistance line with these helpful details:

  • location and if the person is still there
  • vehicle details and any identifying features
  • description of the person acting suspicious
  • anyone else present or who may have also seen the behaviour.

Please don’t get involved or try and stop them….….. Your safety is important to us!

To spread the SAPOL message further, this year other community service groups are lending a hand. For the first time Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary and the South Australian Country Women’s Association are helping by distributing fire prevention fact sheets into their communities.

If you would like SAPOL to promote this important message at your next event, please contact your local Crime Prevention Section.

You can also print out your own Operation Nomad poster to support the campaign:

For further information about what you can and can’t do during the Fire Danger Season can be found on the CFS website

Read SAPOL’s media release