Adelaide Hills

Against CFS policy, a hills community erects a fire mast and warning siren

Trying to insure themselves against another season of bushfire damage, Brukunga errects a mast and fire siren in their village.

Sleepy Brukunga lies around 40km from central Adelaide, in the north-east of the Adelaide Hills. Its name, translated from local Kaurna language as “place of fire stone” owes to the rich supply of flint and iron found both in the village, and in nearby Nairne. Both flint and iron were historically used by indigenous communities as fire lighters.

Last year’s bushfires devastated the area. The blazes which ravaged most of the Hills region — destroying homes, farmland and livelihoods as they swept through Cudlee Creek last summer — were particularly fierce in Brukunga.

Locals, fearful of the already scorching temperatures the region has been experiencing this year, are trying to stay ahead of the game.

On Wednesday, volunteers began erecting a mast and warning siren near the Brukunga CFS Brigade, against official CFS policy. It will be activated and sound a warning if a bushfire threatens. A fundraiser for the project received significant support for an unnamed local hills resident, enabling it to get across the line.

But South Australian CFS preparedness director Brett Loughlin said the use of sirens was no longer supported or funded by the CFS.

He instead recommended community members rely on the CFS’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for the most accurate information.

He also nodded to the Alert SA app, which monitors fire danger across the state, and recommended ABC Radio Adelaide or other emergency broadcast partners as other reliable sources of information.

If you see any suspicious smoke, fires or anything of the like, contact your local CFS and the Bushfire Hotline on 800 362 361 immediately to report it.

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