CFS volunteers give their time willingly to help others out in times of need, but when their lives are put at risk by the thoughtless actions of others, it leaves a sour taste in their mouths.
Last weekend, Mallala CFS received a call out when a motorist came upon a fallen tree across the old Mallala to Owen road.
Mallala CFS captain, Alex O’Loan, and some of his crew, attended the scene, and noticed the fallen tree had actually not fallen of its own accord – it had been cut three quarters of the way through and left to fall.
While busy cutting up the tree, the crew heard a crash just behind them.
“We turned and saw another tree had fallen down very close to where we were working,” Alex said.
“We inspected that one and noticed it too had been cut three quarters the way through.”
The trees in question were about 10 to 12 metres high with trunks around 40cm in diameter.
“It was lucky it didn’t land on anyone – it could have caused serious injury or worse,” Alex said.
Alex said he has noticed a significant increase in wood chopping over the last six to eight weeks.
“It’s been cold, firewood prices have gone up, and people have obviously been getting out and about, and if they leave things tidy, most people are happy, however these people are not doing that,” he said.
“While the weekend’s incident was the first one on a road the crew was called to, we have noticed many other trees and limbs down around recently.
“Some trees have been cut and left lying on farmer’s fences – some on new fences – and others have just been left in a mess everywhere on the roads and roadsides for others to clean up.”
“It’s not just burnt trees from the Pinery fire being cut, it’s other dead trees too.”
“Leaving trees almost cut through is dangerous – this is a safety issue as someone is going to get hurt.”
Alex said his crew has attended felled trees in both Adelaide Plains and Wakefield Regional Councils, mostly affected by the Pinery fire.
Wakefield Regional Council advised people wanting to cut roadside downs or cut up firewood must obtain the landowner’s permission first.
Under Adelaide Plains Council’s Vegetation Management Policy, adopted in July 2019, collection of firewood is prohibited throughout the council area and permission to collect will not be given. (Council By-law 4 Local Government Land).
Police are aware of the situation, so if anyone notices anything suspicious, please contact police on 131 444.