After a bushfire, the land and animals around you may need to be treated differently. There’s a range of information, services and resources available to help you look after your own property and animals, and the native vegetation and animals in your area.
For advice on land management issues such as soil protection, weeds, foxes and rabbits, farm planning, pasture recovery, river and creeks, and bush vegetation, contact your Landscape South Australia office or visit landscape.sa.gov.au
For information on land management after a bushfire:
Resources to help rebuild a resililent, fire-resistant garden after bushfire:
- Reducing fire risk in gardens – Botanic Gardens of SA
- Bushfire garden recovery; rebuilding after the fire – Sophie Thomson
- Creating a native habitat garden – Adelaide Hills Council
- Environmental weeds of the Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges – Landscape SA Hills & Fleurieu
- Urban biodiversity gardening advice – Landscape SA Hills & Fleurieu
Bushfires generate large quantities of ash and debris which have the potential to contaminate water.
Although ash and debris in rainwater does not represent a health risk, it could affect the colour, the clarity and the taste of the water. The SA Health Water Quality team is available to answer questions during business hours. Phone 8226 7100
More about rainwater quality after a fire:
- SA Health information on bushfires and water quality
- Guidance on use of rainwater tanks
- SA Health information on rainwater
Dams and waterways
Ash from burnt permapine (CCA timber, treated with copper, chromium and arsenic), is hazardous to livestock if significant quantities get into your dam or waterways.
Free water quality testing is available for people who have concerns a significant amount of this ash impacting the water quality of their dams or waterways.
Testing water (Cudlee Creek)
There is a very low risk of water contamination from burnt permapine posts, however, the Department for Environment and Water will fund testing by the Australian Water Quality Centre and have the results interpreted by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). It’s expected to take about 7 to 10 days for landholders to receive their results from the EPA (an email address will be requested when a sample is dropped off).
Sample bottles can be collected, and dropped off, at the Lobethal Recovery Centre and the Landscape SA Centres in Mount Barker, Woodside and Eastwood.
If you use your own bottle to collect water:
- use a bottle that is clean and free of any contamination
- avoid getting mud/debris in the bottle
- provide only one sample per dam or waterbody.
Details on how to collect a water sample from your dam or waterway, and strategies on how to improve your water quality, are available in this EPA fact sheet.
Blue-green and other algal outbreaks
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA) has some simple control methods for algae.
If you would like to speak to someone about the quality of water in your dam or waterways, please contact Landscape SA staff.
Native vegetation is still protected, even after bushfire.
Native vegetation in most parts of South Australia is protected under the Native Vegetation Act 1991, including after bushfire events.
Check to see if you need approval if you need to:
- back burn
- clear fire breaks
- remove vegetation for access.
Managing native vegetation after fire
Information is available on managing native vegetation after fire, including:
- how burnt trees regenerate
- the importance of trees to shelter native wildlife and prevent soil erosion.
For native vegetation advice and support, contact your local Landscape South Australia Centre:
You can also visit the DEW website
For advice or assistance with treating injured livestock contact your local veterinarian.
Alternatively, you can call the PIRSA Agriculture and Livestock Hotline on 1800 255 556.
PIRSA can help:
- assess burnt livestock
- advise on how to access veterinary services
- assist with euthanasing severely burned livestock on welfare grounds
- locate livestock
- inspect livestock
- provide advice on disposal options for deceased livestock
- coordinate emergency fodder, water and fencing through Livestock SA
- coordinate recovery measures.
More information on bushfire recovery is available on the PIRSA website.
If you encounter an injured native animal after a bushfire, contact your local wildlife rescue group for further advice.
If you intend to care for an injured native animal short-term, and have the skills and resources to do so, you must obtain a permit.
Feeding native animals is generally not recommended as it can affect their natural behaviour, nutrition intake and cause the spread of disease. However, some animals may benefit from short-term supplementary feeding after a bushfire, until the natural environment has recovered.
The Department for Environment and Water has further information on feeding wildlife after a bushfire
Aboriginal heritage is protected, even after bushfire
Aboriginal heritage sites, objects and remains in South Australia are protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, including after bushfire events. While bushfire may impact or obscure Aboriginal heritage, it can also result in greater visibility of Aboriginal sites in the landscape.
You should submit an online search request via Taa wika to manage any risk of impact to reported or determined Aboriginal sites if you need to:
- undertake ground disturbance
- clear fire breaks
- back burn
To discuss Aboriginal heritage issues in fire impacted regions, please contact Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation