GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

20 November 2002

Latest Satellite Image:

This true-color ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image captured by the Aqua satellite shows numerous large bushfires (red) burning throughout the region onNovember 20, 2002.

Actual Fire Situation Maps 

An actual fire situation map in NSWcan be found directly at:

An actual fire situation map inVictoria can be found directly at:

Total Fire Bans 
Wednesday, 20 November 2002 – The Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service has declared a Total Fire Ban in the following Weather Forecast Districts:

Metropolitan, Illawarra, Hunter, North West Plains, Central Western Plains and Slopes

(Please note that Total Fire Bans previosuly declared for today in Metropolitan, Illawarra and Hunter are revoked as at 0700 hours due to amended advice from the Bureau of Meteorology)

The weather forecast for this area is very high temperature, low humidity and moderate to strong winds. These conditions are conducive to fire activity and the community is urged to take particular care. Fire danger in this area will be extreme or approaching extreme.

The Total Fire Ban will become effective for the 24 hours from MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, Tuesday, November 19, 2002 until MIDNIGHT Tuesday, November 20, 2002.

During a Total Fire Ban no fire of any kind may be lit in the open. This includes incinerators and barbecues which burn solid fuel, e.g. wood or charcoal. You may use a gas or electric barbecue, but only if……
· It is on residential property within 20m of the house or dwelling;
· It is under the direct control of a responsible adult;
· The ground around the barbecue is cleared for 3m of all material which could burn;
· You have a continuous supply of running water.

A map identifying the boundaries of weather districts can be found on the Bureau of Meteorology web site at Members of the public can phone 1 800 654 443 or their local NSW Rural Fire Service Fire Control Centre for more information.

Source: NSWRural Fire Service

Statewide Fire Update 20 November 2002

More than 500 firefighters are working on 44 fires that have burned more than 300,000 hectares across NSW.

Firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), State Forests (SF), NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) and interstate agencies including the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) from Victoria, the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS), the Tasmania National Parks (TNPWS) and Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia (FESA) are deployed at the fires.

Weather conditions today were mild and rain is forecast for some areas of the state tomorrow.

Total Fire Bans have been declared for the North West Plains, Central West Plains and Central West Slopes weather districts today. No Total Fire Bans have been declared for tomorrow.The fires of most concern are the Touga fire in the Shoalhaven district and the Bala Range fire in the Cessnock district.

Shoalhaven – Bundanoon – Touga fire

    The Touga fire, west of Nowra, has burned 24,000 hectares of Morton National Park since it was ignited on 8 November 2002 and is going.Yesterday the southwest flank spread over the Tolwong Road, which is now closed
Today 140 firefighters from the RFS and National Parks and Wildife Service will focus this afternoon on containing the fire’s spread south and east of the Shoalhaven River and to the west of Ettrema Creek using waterbombing aircraft on the Ettrema Plateau and to the south along the Braidwood Road.

The Braidwood Road will be closed at Nerriga and at the junction with Turpentine Road.
Fire trail preparation and property protection is being carried out in the Tallaganda and Mulwarree shires however, no property is under threat in either of these shires.

The fire has calmed down this afternoon as a result of misty weather and expected rain.
Upper Hawkesbury – Bala Range

The Bala Range fire, in the Upper Hawkesbury, has burned 84,210 hectares of Yengo National Park since it was ignited on 5 October 2002 and is being controlled in the northern section.

Yesterday crews worked on directly attacking hotspots, mopping up and patrolling different areas of the fire and this was continued today. Aircraft are waterbombing hotspots in the Sandy Creek area.

Crews have successfully contained a spot over the Yokey Sector on the northern side.

Cessnock/ Singleton

The Fal Brook fire, north of Singleton, has burned 1,242 hectares of the Mount Royal National Park since it was ignited on 4 November 2002 and is being controlled.

Yesterday ground crews and waterbombing aircraft directly attacked hot spots and this will continue today in the North, South and Loop Sector and the western containment line will be monitored.

The Gunnadoo fire west of the Brokenback Range has burned 2,450 hectares of Pokolbin State Forest since it was ignited on 9 October 2002 and is contained.

Crews worked yesterday on aerial ignition in the northern and central parts of the fire to protect the containment lines from outbreaks.

A lot of smoke was caused by a backburn completed yesterday along the northern containment line from the Wollombi Road to the Owendale sector. Crews have been mopping up and patrolling the backburn today.

Northern Tablelands fires

The Cabbage Tree fire, in the Mt Neville Nature Reserve, northwest of Grafton, has burned 245 hectares since it was ignited on 10 November and is being controlled.

Crews worked yesterday to mop up and waterbomb hotspots, and this was continued today.

All other fires are being patrolled and crews will be deepening containment lines.


The Kippax 2 fire, near Kippax Road has burned 50 hectares since it was ignited at 3.30pm this afternoon and is going.

Crews are using aerial reconnaissance to identify the size and exact location of the fire.


Eight fires have been confirmed, burning in the National Parks to the west and south west of Moruya ranging from Tinpot in the south to the Buckenboura Valley in the west. Five fires are going, one is contained and one is being patrolled.

The fires were ignited last night from lightning strikes and aerial reconnaissance has been carried out today to determine the size and locations of the fires.

Crews are working on waterbombing the Halfway, Mudmelong, Winbenby, Woolla fires and a dozer line is being put in on the Mudmelong fire.

Lithgow – Mount Airly Fire

The Mount Airly fire, burning on Crown Land near Lithgow, has burned 50 hectares since it was ignited on 13 November 2002 and is going.

Crews worked yesterday to waterbomb the fire and this is continuing today.

Source: NSW Rural FireService

Fire Weather Forecast for the Pacific Region

click here to enlarge (21 KB)

Fire Weather Index for the
Pacific Region for tomorrow.
(Source: ECPCFire Weather Index Forecast)

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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