The Bushfires and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre says large parts of Australia are now facing a higher than normal risk of bushfires, after heavy winter rain and further falls in September increased fuel loads.
Predicted hotter than average temperatures this summer are expected to dry these fuel loads out and create ‘above normal’ fire conditions.
All states and the ACT are now warning of increased grass fire danger.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC says the increase in fire potential is predominantly in grassland areas of Victoria and New South Wales.
The new conditions have prompted the Bushfire and Natural Hazards to release an updated Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, replacing an earlier outlook released in August.
Click here to view the new statement, released yesterday.
Don’t be caught off-guard, plan now
NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said grass fires start and spread quickly, often moving three times faster than a bushfire, and can catch people off-guard.
“Everybody needs to know what they will do if faced with this type of emergency,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
“With a forecast of drier and warmer conditions than normal, it does not matter whether you live close to grass paddocks or to a bushfire-prone area, you need to prepare for this fire season.”
Embers can travel across several properties and streets, even up to 30km in the worst conditions.
NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott warned hotter and drier conditions expected across the state would make this an extremely challenging summer season.
“The Air-Crane ‘Delilah’, the C130 ‘Thor’ the DC10 ‘Southern Belle’ and the NSW RFS fleet of more than 100 aircraft are tremendous assets in supporting firefighting efforts, but the real heroes are our volunteers on the ground,” Mr Elliott said.
Source: Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, NSW Rural Fire Service