GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

23 January 2002


Final NSWBushfire Update

Victoria Natural Resources and Environment
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
22 January 2002 
Source: http://www.nre.vic.gov.au/index.htm

TheDepartment of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and Parks Victoria (PV)commitment at the NSW bushfires lasted 24 days from Boxing Day 2001 until thelast personnel arrived back in Victoria on Saturday, January 19 2002. Theunseasonally late start to Victoria’s own fire season, particularly in thesouth, allowed for a significantly higher level of support than would normallyhave been possible.
There were four crew rotations that involved 737 individual firefighters andmanagement personnel in total. Of these, some were deployed twice, leading to atotal of 803 positions being filled by NRE / PV personnel. It is also estimatedthat NRE had around sixty personnel involved in ‘back up ‘ roles both in theVictoria Parade, East Melbourne ‘Emergency Coordination Centre’ and regionally.
In addition to ‘general firefighters’ a significant proportion of the NRE / PVdeployments were of a specialist nature (such as ‘Air Attack Supervisors’, Foamand Retardant mixing crews, resource and planning specialists, command personneland other technical experts). Principal liaison officers were located in theSydney Fire Coordination Centre throughout the deployment. Other resources sentto the fire line included a total of 43 slip on units (4WD vehicles with watertanks), nine other vehicles and 11 trailers.
The Victorian (NRE / CFA) State Aircraft Unit (SAU) tasked 10 aircraftthroughout the bushfire emergency. Nine aircraft were released from theirVictorian contract and one, the infra red linescan fire mapping aircraft, waslent for the duration of the fires. The aircraft released from contract were:

  • three medium helicopters;

  • one light helicopter;

  • four fixed-wing fire bombing aircraft and; 

  • the Erickson Aircrane.

Victorianaircraft specialists from NRE / CFA also provided considerable assistance interms of the deployment of two further Erickson Aircranes to NSW during thefires (these were sourced at short notice, from the USA). As well as providinginitial operational support, Victorian personnel trained their NSW colleaguesfor ongoing Aircrane support roles.
The SAU was also involved in the booking and coordination of over 10 000aircraft seats for NSW related personnel (CFA volunteers were relieved afterthree – four days and NRE / PV personnel after six – seven days on average inNSW).
NRE and PV crews from across the state were generally deployed in remote areasof National Parks assisting the local Parks and Wildlife staff on fire lines andin a range of specialist roles. These included planning roles in controlscentres, directing fire bombing aircraft, working in aircraft flying at nightproducing maps and working on dusty airfields loading water bombers. 

Thisdeployment provided valuable opportunity for personnel to work in integratedteams with CFA and interstate fire agencies to support the fire suppressioneffort. In addition, many NRE and PV people gained valuable involvement inwildfire incident management enhanced their skills and experience. The skill andexpertise of the NRE/PV personnel was strongly commended by NSW fireauthorities.

NSWBushfire Update

Lateafternoon Tuesday January 15

There are noTotal Fire Bans in place in NSW. Fire Danger continues to remain High to VeryHigh in most of the State. 

Demobilisationof NRE / PV personnel from NSW has begun with all personnel remaining in NSW dueback in Victoria by Friday afternoon. Personnel returning from NSW today include38 firefighters, three foam mixing crew for the Erickson Air-crane and twoAircraft Liaison personnel. An Aircraft Liaison Officer, two Erickson foammixing crew and an Aircraft Officer will be flying to NSW today to completenecessary commitments. Two Radio Technicians going to NSW tomorrow, will be thelast personnel deployed to NSW at this time. 
Crew movements from Wednesday until Friday will see the return to Victoria ofeight Rappel crew, four Radio Technicians, three Erickson foam mixing crew, 84firefighters, 18 operations personnel, two Liaison Officers, 15 aircraftpersonnel and two Technical Specialists (Health). 
All Victorian aircraft will be back in Victoria by Wednesday afternoon. 
Remaining NRE /PV personnel are continuing to assist with management andsuppression of fires still burning in the Cessnock and Hawkesbury areas.

VictorianSituation

There were nosignificant fires in Victoria’s parks and forests today.

NSWBushfire Update

Lateafternoon Monday January 14

The firesituation in NSW has quietened down significantly. There are no Total Fire Bansin place in NSW for the first time since the emergency began, although the FireDanger continues to remain High to Very High in most of the State. Dry, mild towarm weather is expected throughout the state today, with only isolated earlycoastal showers on the south and central coast.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is currently managing 33bushfires on national parks and reserves. Fires have been
burning on at least 426,924 hectares of protected bushland since 24 December2001. The NPWS, Rural Fire Service, NSW Fire Brigades, State Forests and SydneyCatchment Authority fire crews continue to deal with 14 serious bushfiresburning across the Shoalhaven, South Coast, North Coast, Hunter area and thegreater Sydney Metropolitan area.
NRE / PV and fire agencies from Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmaniacontinue to provide resources to NSW. Some 180 NRE / PV firefighters, IMTmembers, Aviation and other specialist personnel are involved along with fiveVictorian aircraft forming part of the 92 aircraft contingent operating on theNSW fires. 
A gradual scaling down of NRE / PV resources in NSW has begun with crewchangeovers today including 40 firefighters going to NSW and a total of 57firefighters and two Technical Specialists (weather) returning. 
The two NSW Erickson Air-Cranes are continuing to operate on the Shoalhavenfires today, with the Victorian Erickson deployed to Port Macquarie lateSaturday. It is anticipated that all Victorian aircraft should be back inVictoria by the end of the week.
NRE / PV continues to support the firefighting effort, however involvement onthe Martindale/Bulga Fire near Singleton is being scaled down with a number offirefighters being redeployed to assist with fires in the Hawkesbury andCessnock areas. 

VictorianSituation

There were nosignificant fires in Victoria’s parks and forests today. 
Close liaison continues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s ChiefOfficer to ensure adequate resources remain in Victoria. The deployments fromVictoria continue to come largely from the southern parts of Victoria where, dueto unseasonal rain, the forest fire danger remains moderate at this stage. Eachday now in late afternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed in the light ofthe Victorian situation (all Victorian contracted fire related aircraft are now’on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start. 

NSWBushfire Update 

Lateafternoon Friday January 11

A Total FireBan has been in force for all of NSW. Fire Weather Warning for Very High toExtreme Fire Danger exist in the Southern Tablelands, South Coast, NorthwestSlopes and Plains, Central West Slopes and Plains, Southwest Slopes, Riverinaand Lower Western districts.

Personnel

The fourthrotation of NRE / PV is currently underway, with two Linescanners, two Liaisonpersonnel and three Technical Specialists (Health and Fire Behaviour) going toNSW today. A total of 89 personnel from Port Phillip and Gippsland are returningthis afternoon. Further planned changeovers will take place on Saturday andSunday. Negotiations regarding the deployment of the Rappel crew are underway.
The current contingent over 180 NRE / PV personnel comprises firefighters, IMTmembers, Aviation and other specialist personnel together with five Victorianaircraft. The NRE/PV fireline crews in NSW are enabling NSW Parks crews to restprior to an expected deterioration of fire conditions. Over 590 NRE personnelhave gone to NSW to aid in the firefighting efforts.

Aircraft

The StateAircraft Unit is facilitating the movement of 96 NRE and PV personnel up to anddown from NSW today. A medium helicopter has returned to Victoria from NSW andis currently working out of Bendigo. One Victorian Fixed-wing Firebomber, whichwas released from NSW two days ago, is back in action in Victoria. The fiveVictorian aircraft remaining in NSW are: The Erikson Air-crane, two mediumhelicopters, one Victorian Fixed-wing Firebomber and the Linescan aircraft.

Fires withNRE Involvement

MartindaleFire

NRE / PVcrews on the fireline at the Bulga (Martindale) fire (65,000 hectare) arecontinuing direct attack, backburning & burning out to secure the boundarythreatening the Cessnock/Singleton area. The NSW National Parks and WildlifeService have requested that NRE continueproviding support at this fire.

BurragorangComplex Fire

NRE IncidentManagement Team personnel at the Burragorang Complex Fire (55,000 hectare), nearMittagong, are coordinating the consolidation of control lines before predictedVery High to Extreme today. Spot overs of control lines into the Nattai Gorgehave been contained. The skill and expertise of the NRE / PV on both these fireshave been strongly commended by NSW fire authorities.

VictorianSituation

Today Friday11/01/02, the CFA has declared a Total Fire Ban for the North Eastern District,so no fires may be lit from midnight 10/01/02 to midnight 11/01/02. Country FireAuthority restriction information can be obtained by calling 131 599. 
NRE is currently attending a 150 hectare fire burning in the Gunbower StateForest in northern Victoria. Firefighters are confident that this fire will becontained shortly. 
Close liaison continues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s ChiefOfficer to ensure adequate resources remain in Victoria. The deploymentsfrom Victoria continue to come largely from the southern parts of Victoriawhere, due to unseasonal rain, the forest fire danger remains moderate at thisstage. Each day now in late afternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed inthe light of the Victorian situation (all Victorian contracted fire relatedaircraft are now ‘on-line’). 
 The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sentto NSW are self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for allroles they will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continueto be part of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start.

NSWBushfire Update 

Lateafternoon Thursday January 10

Total FireBans are in force for all of NSW except in the Metropolitan and CentralTablelands districts. There is High to Very High Fire Danger or rest of thestate.
The NPWS is currently managing 57 bushfires on national parks and reservesaffected by bushfires. Fires have been burning on at least 382,500 hectares ofprotected bushland since 24 December 2001.

Personnel

Changeover ofNRE / PV personnel continues with 81 personnel from the Gippsland and East PortPhillip regions leaving today, replacing 47 personnel returning this afternoon.Further planned changeovers will take place on Friday and Saturday.
The current contingent of 250 NRE / PV personnel comprises firefighters, IMTmembers, Aviation and other specialist personnel together with 6 Victorianaircraft. The NRE / PV fireline crews in NSW are enabling NSW Parks crews torest prior to an expected deterioration of fire conditions tomorrow. A total of590 NRE personnel have gone to NSW to aid in the firefighting efforts.

Aircraft

The StateAircraft Unit organised the movement of 52 NRE, PV and CFA personnel up to anddown from NSW yesterday and today 137 personnel have been moved. It is expectedthat 83 personnel will be transported between NSW and Victoria tomorrow. Thetotal number of personnel moved to and from NSW since the fires began is closeto 10 000.
The three Erickson Air-cranes are assisting with the fires in the Shoalhavenarea. NRE / PV personnel are providing the Air Attack support for all threeAir-cranes, and are also involved in training NSW personnel.

Fires withNRE Involvement

MartindaleFire

NRE / PVcrews on the fireline at the Bulga (Martindale Group) fire (65,000 ha) arecontinuing direct attack, backburning & burning out to secure the boundarythreatening the Cessnock/Singleton area.

BurragorangComplex Fire

NRE IncidentManagement Team personnel at the Burragorang Complex Fire (55,000 ha), nearMittagong, are coordinating the consolidation of control lines before predictedVery High to Extreme fire danger on Friday. Spot overs of control lines into theNattai Gorge have been contained. The skill and expertise of the NRE / PV onboth these fires have been strongly commended by NSW fire authorities.

VictorianSituation

NRE assistedthe CFA in controlling a 650 hectare fire at Goroke near Horsham. There were noother significant fires in Victoria today. 
Close liaison continues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s ChiefOfficer to ensure adequate resources remain in Victoria. The deployments fromVictoria continue to come largely from the southern parts of Victoria where, dueto unseasonal rain, the forest fire danger remains moderate at this stage. Eachday now in late afternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed in the light ofthe Victorian situation (all Victorian contracted fire related aircraft are now’on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start.

NSWBushfires Update

Lateafternoon Wednesday January 9

Total FireBans are currently in force for all of NSW except the Metropolitan and CentralTablelands districts. There is High to Very High Fire Danger throughout thestate.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is currently managing 57 bushfireson national parks and reserves affected by bushfires. Fires have been burning onat least 382,500 hectares of protected bushland since 24 December 2001.

Personnel

Changeover ofNRE / PV personnel continues with 40 operations personnel from the southern areaof North East region leaving today to replace 40 crew from the South West whoare returning tomorrow. Further planned changeovers will be take place onThursday and Friday. The current contingent of NRE / PV personnel comprises 210firefighters, IMT members, Aviation and other specialist personnel together withsix Victorian aircraft. The NRE/PV fireline crews in NSW are allowing NSW Parkscrews to rest prior to fire conditions worsening again.

Aircraft

The StateAircraft Unit organised the movement of over 400 NRE, PV and CFA personnel up toand down from NSW yesterday. The total number of personnel moved to and from NSWsince the fires began is close to 10 000.
The three Erickson Air-cranes are all now assisting with the fires in theShoalhaven area. NRE/PV personnel will be providing the Air Attack support forall three Air-cranes. They are also involved in training NSW personnel. Nodecision has been made regarding when the Victorian Air-crane will be returningto Victoria. The Chief Officers of NRE and CFA has this and related matterscontinually under review.
One Victorian Fixed-wing Firebomber, Bomber 02 has been released from NSW butwill be off line for a couple of days while the pilot rests.

Fires withNRE involvement 

MartindaleFire

NRE crews onthe fireline at the Bulga (Martindale) Fire (65,000 hectares), near Singleton,continue to work hard on securing boundaries. Unfortunately Sunday night’s rain(15 – 50 mm on various parts of this large fire) interrupted backburning anddamp conditions prevented further burning last night. Activity last night wasrestricted to patrol work. Further backburning is planned to secure the fireboundary over the next 3 – 4 days as the weather stabilises.

BurragorangComplex Fire

NRE IncidentManagement Team personnel at the Burragorang Complex Fire (55,000 hectares),near Mittagong, are working on strategies to consolidate control lines over thenext 2 – 3 days. CFA resources have been stood down from this fire with localNSW RFS providing the on ground resources. 

VictorianSituation

There were nosignificant fires in Victoria’s parks and forests today. 

Close liaisoncontinues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s Chief Officer to ensureadequate resources remain in Victoria. The deployments from Victoria continue tocome largely from the southern parts of Victoria where, due to unseasonal rain,the forest fire danger remains moderate at this stage. Each day now in lateafternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed in the light of the Victoriansituation (all Victorian contracted fire related aircraft are now’on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start. 

NSWBushfires Update

Lateafternoon Tuesday January 8

Total FireBans are in force for all of NSW except in the Metropolitan and CentralTablelands districts. There is Very High to Extreme Fire Danger for theIllawarra, Hunter, Northwest Plains and Southern Tablelands north of ACT, withHigh to Very High Fire Danger in the rest of the state.

Personnel

There aresome 211 General Firefighters, Incident Management Team members, Aviation andspecialist NRE / PV personnel currently involved in NSW. Personnel continue tosupport the firefighting effort on the Martindale/Bulga Fire near Singleton andthe Burragorang/ Mt Bellon Fire near Mittagong. 

Aircraft

The StateAircraft Unit has organised the movement of over 400 NRE, PV and CFA personnelup to and down from NSW today.
The Erickson Air-Crane was deployed to the Shoalhaven fires yesterday where theShoalhaven fire continued to give major problems, with evacuations of severalsmall townships occurring yesterday afternoon.
Two additional Erickson Air-cranes arrived in Sydney from the USA yesterdaymorning. Assembly is expected to take until late today, when they will be flyingto Nowra to help with the fires in the Shoalhaven area. NRE/PV will be providingthe Air Attack support for all three Air-cranes.
Aviation and specialist personnel from NRE/PV are currently involved, along withsix Victorian aircraft, forming part of the 70 aircraft contingent operating onthe NSW fires. One Victorian Fixed-wing Firebomber has been released from NSWtoday and is currently returning to its base in Victoria.

Fires withNRE involvement 

MartindaleFire

NRE crews onthe fireline at the Martindale/Bulga Fire (65 000 hectares), near Singletoncontinue to work hard on securing boundaries. Unfortunately Sunday night’s rain(15 – 50 mm on various parts of this large fire) interrupted backburning anddamp conditions prevented further burning last night. Activity last night wasrestricted to patrol work. Further backburning is planned to secure the fireboundary over the next three – four days as the weather stabilises. Airreconnaissance is being carried out to monitor and map fire behaviour throughoutthe day.

BurragorangComplex Fire

NRE IncidentManagement Team personnel at the Burragorang Complex Fire (55 000 hectares),near Mittagong, are working on strategies to consolidate control lines over thenext two – three days. Local NSW Rural Fire Service are providing the on groundresources. 

VictorianSituation

There were nosignificant in Victoria’s parks and forests today. 

Close liaisoncontinues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s Chief Officer to ensureadequate resources remain in Victoria. The deployments from Victoria continue tocome largely from the southern parts of Victoria where, due to unseasonal rain,the forest fire danger remains moderate at this stage. Each day now in lateafternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed in the light of the Victoriansituation (all Victorian contracted fire related aircraft are now’on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start.

NSWBushfires Update

LateAfternoon Monday January 7

Despite therain that fell in NSW this morning, expected dry, hot and windy conditions inthe afternoon means that there continues to be Very High to Extreme Fire Dangerthroughout the state. There is a Total Fire Ban currently in place.
To date approximately 567 000 hectares have been burnt. The New South WalesParks and Wildlife Service currently has 56 national parks and reserves affectedby bushfires. Fires are burning and have burnt at least 382 000 hectares ofprotected bushland since 24 December 2001.

Personnel

There arecurrently 210 NRE / PV personnel in NSW. Changeover of 260 personnel over theweekend went smoothly with changeovers for aircraft crew being planned. A totalof 66 personnel have gone to NSW today. 

Aircraft

The StateAircraft Unit continues to organise transport for NRE, PV and CFA personnel witha total of around 300 personnel being moved into and out of NSW today. Over 6000personnel have been transported interstate by the SAU during the fires.
A medium helicopter, which returned to Bendigo on the weekend for use inVictoria during yesterday’s Extreme Fire Danger in the north of the State,returned to Sydney today at the request of NSW. 
The two Erickson Aircranes, the “Georgia Peach” and the”Incredible Hulk” have arrived in Sydney and will be assembled today.A request from NSW for Victoria to provide support crew for the aircraft hasresulted in a team of NRE/PV/CFA personnel being deployed today. These staffwill be training NSW personnel in the support of the aircraft.

Fires withNRE involvement

MartindaleFire

This fire,near Singleton, is still posing a threat to Martindale Creek, Doyles Creek andAppletree. Attack at the northern edge of the fire has been undertaken bywaterbombing. Containment lines have been consolidated on all sides. It isintended to combine fire fighting operations between the Martindale Group andthe Big Yango Fire, near Cessnock, by undertaking hazard reduction activities.

BurragorangComplex Fire

Overnightrain has reduced the potential for the fire to threaten control lines. Predictedweather for this afternoon will see the moisture from the rain dissipate andhigh fire danger is expected later in the day, potentially threatening thetownships of Mittagong and Colo Vale.

VictorianSituation

There were nosignificant fires in Victoria’s parks and forests today. 

Close liaisoncontinues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s Chief Officer to ensureadequate resources remain in Victoria. The deployments from Victoria continue tocome largely from the southern parts of Victoria where, due to unseasonal rain,the forest fire danger remains moderate at this stage. Each day now in lateafternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed in the light of the Victoriansituation (all Victorian contracted fire related aircraft are now’on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start. 

NSWBushfires Update

Lateafternoon Sunday January 6

High to VeryHigh Fire Danger conditions continue throughout NSW today with a Total Fire Banin place throughout the state. Hot dry air continues to move in from the westdropping humidity levels , and creating extreme fire conditions for tommorow.

Personnel

Over 300Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and Parks Victoria (PV)personnel have been involved in the NSW fires to date. In Victoria 60 NRE and PVstaff have been working behind the scenes throughout the campaign assisting withoperations in NSW. 
NRE continues to provide support in NSW with 160 firefighters andspecialist/support staff currently at work at the fires near Singleton andMittagong. The largest changeover of NRE/PV crew to date will be occurring thisweekend, with around 260 NRE / PV personnel going to and returning from NSW.Over Monday and Tuesday next week approximately 70 crew will be changed overincluding Incident Management Teams and aircraft support personnel.
The interstate contingent now in NSW includes more than 1800 personnel from NRE,CFA, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand andthe Northern Territory.
There are now 20 000 firefighting and support personnel working on fires whichhave burnt some 400 000 hectares. The NSW Parks and Wildlife Service report thatnearly 350 000 hectares have been burnt across 46 parks and reserves.

Aircraft

Victorian airsupport is of critical importance to the efforts in NSW. The Erickson Aircranehas been doing impressive work protecting homes throughout the Blue Mountainsand Sydney areas. The NRE Firescan crew has been working hard each nightproviding the front intelligence to the various planning teams. The infra redscanning device on this aircraft maps fires through smoke. 
Other Victorian aircraft in NSW continues to be two medium helicopters and threefixed-wing aircraft. Helitack 01 has headed back from NSW to Bendigo thismorning. 
Two additional Erickson Aircranes arriving via a giant Antinov cargo plane, areexpected to be operational by Wednesday 9th of January. These two fire fightingaircraft named “The Incredible Hulk” and “Georgia Peach”will provide further assistance to the ongoing fire fighting campaign.
The Victorian State Aircraft Unit (VSAU) continues to organise transport forNRE, PV and CFA personnel with approximately 1000 NRE, PV and CFA personnelmoving to and from NSW on Sunday.

Weather:

  •      Monday, Chance of isolated showers through north and east of state contracting ahead of a westerly change.

  •      Tuesday, Showers/thunderstorms likely in NE corner, otherwise dry

  •      Wednesday, Dry

  •      Thursday, Dry

Fires withNRE involvement

MartindaleFire

The fire isvery large (around 65 000 hectares), burning within broad containment lines.Improving weather conditions have allowed the consolidation of significantsections of the fire perimeter. Air reconnaissance of the fire edge continueswith aircraft assisting in the suppression of spotfires and with backburningoperations. It is hoped that a strong perimeter will be in place by earlytomorrow afternoon. There are concerns that the Big Yengo and Martindale firesmay eventually join should conditions deteriorate. There is concern for thesafety of properties, however no immediate property threat exists.

BurragorangComplex Fire

This fire hasan overall size of 55 000 hectares. The Nattai fire remains contained withincontrol lines but has progressed to threaten properties. Backburning wasattempted overnight and continues today. Threats to the townships of Bargo,Thirlmere and Buxton remain. Residents are on alert but have not been evacuatedat this time. 
Yesterdays Nepean Gorge fire has been contained and mopping up continues.

VictorianSituation 

Today Sunday06/01/02, the CFA has declared a Total Fire Ban for the North Western District,and North Eastern District so no fires may be lit from midnight 05/01/02 tomidnight 06/01/02. Country Fire Authority restriction information can beobtained by calling 131 599. 
Close liaison continues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the Country FireAuthority Chief Officer to ensure adequate resources remain in Victoria. Thedeployments from Victoria continue to come largely from the southern parts ofthe state where, due to unseasonal rain, the forest fire danger remains moderateat this stage. Each day now in late afternoon, the aircraft deployment isreviewed in the light of the Victorian situation (all Victorian contracted firerelated aircraft are now ‘on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start. 

NSWBushfires Update

Lateafternoon Friday January 4

High to VeryHigh Fire Danger conditions continue throughout NSW today with a Total Fire Banin place.

Personnel

Over 300Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and Parks Victoria (PV)personnel have been involved in the NSW fires to date. NRE continues to providesupport in NSW with 160 firefighters and specialist/support staff currently atwork at the fires near Singleton
and Mittagong. The largest changeover of NRE/PV crew to date will be occurringon Saturday and Sunday, with around 260 NRE/PV personnel going to and returningfrom NSW. 
The interstate contingent now in NSW includes more than 1800 personnel from NRE,CFA, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand andthe Northern Territory.
There are now 20 000 firefighting and support personnel working on fires whichhave burnt some 400 000 hectares. The NSW Parks and Wildlife Service report thatnearly 350 000 hectares have been burnt across 46 parks and reserves.

Aircraft

Victorian airsupport is of critical importance to the efforts in NSW. The Erickson Aircraneis now a media personality and has been doing impressive work protecting homesthroughout the Blue Mountains and Sydney areas. The NRE Firescan crew has beenworking hard each night providing vital intelligence to the various planningteams. The infra red scanning device on this aircraft enables crew to see firesthrough smoke. Other Victorian aircraft in NSW continues to be three mediumhelicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft.
The State Aircraft Unit (SAU) continues to organise transport for NRE, PV andCFA personnel with 460 being moved into and out of NSW today. They have alsobeen organising the transport of NRE, PV crews to and from NSW for Saturday andfor over 1000 NRE, PV and CFA personnel to and from NSW on Sunday

Fires withNRE involvement

MartindaleFire

The fire isvery large (around 65 000 hectares), burning within broad containment lines.Improving weather conditions have allowed the consolidation of some containmentstrategies. Air reconnaissance of the fire edge continues with aircraftassisting in the suppression of spotfires and backburning operations. It ishoped that a strong perimeter will be in place by early tomorrow afternoon.There are concerns that the Big Yengo and Martindale fires may eventually joinshould conditions deteriorate. There is concern for the safety of properties,however no immediate property threat exists.

BurragorangComplex Fire

This fire hasan overall size of 55 000 hectares. The Nattai fire remains contained withincontrol lines but has progressed to threaten properties. Backburning wasattempted overnight and continues today. Threats to the townships of Bargo,Thirlmere and Buxton remain. Residents are on alert but have not been evacuatedat this time. 
Yesterdays Nepean Gorge fire has been contained and mopping up continues.

VictorianSituation 

There were nosignificant fires in Victoria’s parks and forests today. 

Close liaisoncontinues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s Chief Officer to ensureadequate resources remain in Victoria. The deployments from Victoria continue tocome largely from the southern parts of Victoria where, due to unseasonal rain,the forest fire danger remains moderate at this stage. Each day now in lateafternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed in the light of the Victoriansituation (all Victorian contracted fire related aircraft are now’on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start. 

NSWBushfires Update

Lateafternoon Thursday January 3

NSW is facinganother day with a High to Very High Fire Danger index throughout the State anda Total Fire Ban is currently in place. There are still around 80 wildfiresburning in NSW. 
A total of 160 Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and ParksVictoria (PV) staff are currently involved in fighting the fires in NSW, around200 are back resting in their home bases and around 50 staff are providing backup support. 

Aircraft 

Aircraft sentby the Victorian (NRE / CFA) State Aircraft Unit (SAU) to NSW now include:

  • three medium helicopters

  • three fixed-wing aircraft 

  • the ‘infra-red’ linescan fire mapping aircraft and 

  • the Erickson Aircrane. 

The SAU hasalso been involved in the booking and coordination of over 4000 aircraft seatsfor NSW related CFA, NRE and PV personnel. Today alone will see the movement ofover 1000 personnel into and out of NSW. 

Fires withNRE involvement 

MartindaleFire 

The largestcontingent of NRE / PV staff is 118 at the Martindale fire, near Singletoninvolving the Wollemi and Yengo National Parks where over 29 000 hectares havebeen burned. It is estimated that the ultimate area burned may total 64 000hectares. Current operations at this fire include backburning operations,property protection and ‘mopping up’, with air reconnaissance of the fireedge. 

BurragorangComplex 

Fourteen NRE/ PV planning personnel from East Port Phillip and South West Regions areworking with CFA, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW State Forests (SF)personnel at the Wingecarribee Control Centre. NRE/PV personnel are part of anIncident Management Team responsible for control of fires in the Mittagongarea. 
On New Years Day, fires in the Nattai Division broke through containment linesnear Hilltop and moved in a SE direction with the potential to threaten theoutskirts of Mittagong. Current operations around Mittagong include securingperimeters to protect the townships of Balmoral, Hilltop and Colo Vale andsecuring overnight backburning operations and control lines between the currentfire front and the township of Mittagong. Weather conditions in the area for therest of today are expected to be warm to hot, dry with fresh W to SW windsgusting up 50 km/h but easing during the day. 

VictorianSituation 

There were nosignificant fires in Victoria’s parks and forests today. 
Close liaison continues between NRE’s Chief Fire Officer and the CFA’s ChiefOfficer to ensure adequate resources remain in Victoria. The deployments fromVictoria continue to come largely from the southern parts of Victoria where, dueto unseasonal rain, the forest fire danger remains moderate at this stage. Eachday now in late afternoon, the aircraft deployment is reviewed in the light ofthe Victorian situation (all Victorian contracted fire related aircraft are now’on-line’). 
The safety of all firefighters remains the key priority. Crews being sent to NSWare self-contained in terms of being fully trained and accredited for all rolesthey will undertake and key ‘Incident Management Team’ personnel continue to bepart of the deployment. 
NRE is also continuing to provide additional first attack aircraft response insouthern NSW forests should new fires start.

 

Fire Weather Forecast for the Pacific Region

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Fig.1.
Fire Weather Index for the 
Pacific Region for 24 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 21 January 2002 shows 12 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, 23 January 2002
(for legend of symbols see: National Resources and Environment)

 

West Australia

ModisLand Rapid Response System

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Fig.3. These image was acquired by the Moderate-resolution 
Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on 22 January 2002 
and shows fires burning in Western Australia. 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 – 21 February 2002)

Fight won, weary firemen take watch

Smouldering remnants of a bushfire which raged through 7000ha of the D’Entrecasteaux National Park will be monitored for flare-ups this week. The South-West wildfire, ignited by a lightning strike last Wednesday, blazed out of control through wind gusts of up to 45kmh on Sunday. A team of 65 firefighters, weary from a week of seemingly endless work in bushland, controlled the fire about 3pm yesterday despite fluctuating winds. Lightning caused nearly 60 fires on conservation estate lands in the past week, 50 of them in forest from Mundaring to Walpole. Conservation and Land Management operations officer Brian Moss said last night crews were edging the last 3km to 4km around the fire. Mr Moss said mopping-up would last until at least Friday and patrols would follow. NSW fires fan WA bush fears FACE-TO-FACE contact with fierce New South Wales blazes has put local firefighters on edge as the threat to WA bushland deepens. Perth district fire coordinator Mike Cantelo yesterday relived the horror of two weeks at the NSW fire front as he coordinated an air attack on a blaze in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park, 35km east of Augusta. Mr Cantelo said three water bombers dropped 2000 litres of water 20 times a day from Wednesday to Sunday to control fire hop-overs and protect assets. A helicopter and spotter plane also were used in the operation. He said the blaze and battle effort paled into insignificance beside the NSW experience but simultaneous fires could produce a disaster. Fires in the Darling Range would limit resources available to fight one in the South-West forest. “If a couple of arsonists put things in the right place or if there were more lightning strikes, two or three major fires would put the State’s resources under extreme pressure,” Mr Cantelo said. “We need more equipment on the ground and more manpower, including volunteers.”  In NSW, he could barely see the ground from his sixth-floor hotel room because of smoke. He believed WA could soon face similar devastation unless more prescribed burns were completed. “I was absolutely gobsmacked by the enormity of the fire – it was awesome,” he said. “To see houses just disappear as we were going along was not a good sight. I hope I never see anything like it again. It is frightening to think we wouldn’t have enough power to help people here. But if it really went up, we wouldn’t be able to.” The Fire and Emergency Services waterbombers were used near Mandurah and Bullsbrook. They were sent to a fire at Gordon Road, Parklands, about 6km north-east of Mandurah, at 4pm. It was under control by 8pm. They helped volunteer and Midland fire crews control a fire at Ruslane Rise, Bullsbrook, which began just after 5pm and was controlled about 5.30pm, limiting damage to one hectare of bush. No property was threatened.
© 2001 West Australian Newspapers Limited.

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:
http://www.theage.com.au/flash/special/firemap.html

 

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)

  • 17 Jan 2002 19:13:30 UTC; S3-16; cycle 94 orbit 62.59712 duration 0.00996; OBR -GSS orbit 65.0656)

For more information see: http://www.uni-freiburg.de/fireglobe/emergency/radarsat.htm

 

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 in the Alice Springs District. Western Australia CENTRAL WEST Very High  LOWER WEST Very High  CENTRAL WHEATBELT Very High  GREAT SOUTHERN Very High  SOUTHWEST Very High  SOUTH COASTAL Very High  TOWN OF PORT HEDLAND Very High SHIRE OF ROEBOURNE Very High SHIRE OF ASHBURTON High to Very High SHIRE OF EAST PILBARA High KIMBERLEY Moderate toHigh

 

Latest News on Forest Fires in Australia:  

 

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.

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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