GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

15 January 2002

Current Situation: Water-bombing continues as arsonwatch returns
(Source and Copyright:  ABCNews Online, 15 January 2002)

Eight helicopters including two Ericson skycranes have been water-bombing the western front of the Shoalhaven fire as it moves towards the town of Nerriga.  
Shoalhaven deputy incident controller Mal Newing says favourable weather conditions means the front should be brought back to its original containment lines by tomorrow, preventing it moving closer to the town. At Sassafras nearby, firefighters have secured the area around two cattle properties which came under threat yesterday.
Arson watch
New bushfires have broken out on the mid north coast, with up to 15 of them believed to have been deliberately lit. The public is being asked to be on high alert for arsonists, with 10 fires lit within the vicinity of the Pacific Highway around Port Macquarie last night. Helicopters and one sky crane will work with ground crews today covering scores of fires between Coffs Harbour and Taree. Hastings Rural Fire Service controller Wayne Leader says arson continues to pose a threat. “At first they were fairly serious, they were all running, but the Rural Fire Service and State Forests were all able to deploy units and were able to hit them fairly hard fairly quickly,” he said.”We’ve got personnel on about four of those fires this morning which we’ll be still working on and we’ll be watching all the fires during the day.”
Appeal funds
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr says nearly $5 million raised by donation will start being distributed to families affected by the state’s bushfires. Mr Carr says he is confident the prospect of a $10,000 cheque will go down well with families who have lost everything in the bushfires.”A $10,000, no strings grant is the neatest and most compassionate way of doing it,” he said. Others who have suffered partial damage will be entitled to a portion of the grant. Community Services director general Carmel Niland says the real work begins now. “Now we have to work with those shell-shocked families and farmers to help them restore balance into their lives,” she said. The Bushfire Appeal Relief Committee says it is hopeful with a pool of up to $5 million, it will be able to offer a second round of grants, plus money for firefighting equipment.
Community spirit
While the fire fighting effort in New South Wales is being scaled down, officers from interstate are continuing to help relieve many personnel who have not had a break since before Christmas. John Winter from the Rural Fire Service says community spirit is helping to keep morale high. “The interstate crews have reported nothing but support as they’ve been driving through to new areas on their taskforce commitments or driving their vehicles home,” he said. “Indeed there have been reports of people standing on the streets clapping them as they’ve driven through various country towns and that sort of support is more than anyone could ask for to try to recognise the enormous contribution that’s been made.”

Fire Weather Forecast for the Pacific Region

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Fire Weather Index for the
Pacific Region for 16 January 2002.
(Source: ECPC Fire Weather Index Forecast)

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for the management of fire prevention and suppression on public lands in Victoria. The last updated bushfire statistic of 15 January 2002 shows 20 controlled fires. The locations of these fires are displayed in the statewide fire situation map below.

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Fig.2. Statewide Fire Situation Map of Victoria, 15 January 2002
(for legend of symbols see: National Resources and Environment)

ModisLand Rapid Response System

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Fig.3. These image was acquired by the Moderate-resolution
Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on 15 January 2002
and shows fires burning in New South Wales. For details see:
and image search support at:
(For earlier satellite images: see Australia fire updates of 30
December 2001 – 14 February 2002)

The Age Company
An animated map “The trail of Destruction” generated by The Age Company (2001) shows the development of fires starting on Boxing Day 2001:

CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch 

CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch offers the following scenes covering the Australia fires:

  •  02 Jan 02 08:36:29 UTC; S1; cycle 93 orbit 184.89987 duration 0.00900; OBR -GSS orbit 186.3128)

  •  03 Jan 02 19:21:21 UTC; S2; cycle 93 orbit 205.59160 duration 0.00900; OBR -GSS orbit 207.0713)

  •  05 Jan 02 08:48:54 UTC; F3N-16; cycle 93 orbit 227.89808 duration 0.00910; OBR -GSS orbit 229.3107)

  •  07 Jan 02 19:04:47 UTC; F4; cycle 93 orbit 262.59390 duration 0.00883; OBR -GSS orbit 264.00652)

For more information see:

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is the National Meteorological Service for Australia and provides essential meteorological services to all sectors of the Australian community.

Fire danger:

Latest News on Forest Fires in Australia:

  • see: Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics:

  • Daily updated archive of fire news and reports, starting 26 December 2001(published by The Sydney Morning Herald):

  • For regular fire update information: See Website of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service:

The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) has offered assistance to liaise Australian fire authorities with Global Emergency Response and the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations (EMERCOM). Russia offers the services of the Ilyushin 76, the largest water bomber currently available (42,000 litre tank), for international use. The NSW fire authorities have been notified by the offer.
For more information on Global Emergency Response see
and click on Global Emergency Response.

For more information on Australia see the IFFN country notes and have a look at the Australian and New Zealand links.
For background Information see also: Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics

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