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.”
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.
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: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/products_rr.html and image search support at: http://www.uni-freiburg.de/fireglobe/current/MODIS.htm (For earlier satellite images: see Australia fire updates of 30 December 2001 – 14 February 2002)
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: Northern Territory High south of Elliott. Western Australia CENTRAL WEST High LOWER WEST High CENTRAL WHEATBELT High GREAT SOUTHERN High SOUTHWEST High SOUTH COASTAL High TOWN OF PORT HEDLAND High SHIRE OF ROEBOURNE High SHIRE OF ASHBURTON High to Very High SHIRE OF EAST PILBARA High KIMBERLEY Moderate toHigh
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 http://www.uni-freiburg.de/fireglobe/emergency/contacts.htm and click on Global Emergency Response.