GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

10 December 2002

Latest Satellite Image:



FireDanger Extreme in New South Wales 
This true-color ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) was captured by the Aquasatellite on December 9, 2002, and shows active fires marked with red outlines. 

Source: MODIS


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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: 

Monday,9 December 2002:  Total Fire Ban 

The Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service has declared a Total Fire Ban in the following Weather Forecast Districts:

Hunter,Central Tablelands, North West Plains, Central West Slopes, Central West Plains and Metropolitan.

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, Sunday, December 8, 2002 until MIDNIGHT Monday, 9 December 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 of NSW,10 December 2002, 8.00am


Fire crews today will be confronted with mild and wet conditions across many of the fires still burning in NSW. More than 2,500 firefighters worked on the 57 fires that have already burnt out over 100,000 hectares of NSW.

Moderating fire weather conditions and rain yesterday assisted in securing containments commenced last night.

Firefighting resources are strengthened by the deployment of 270 personnel, from South Australia and Victoria. Hundreds of SES volunteers will continue vital logistical work to support firefighting operations.

Areas of concern today are in the Blue Mountains, Berowra, Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla.

Expected weather conditions
Temperature cool to mild cloudy day about 18 degrees Celsius in Sydney
Humidity up to 90%
Wind moderate to fresh and gusty south to southeast winds
Rain: Sydney less than 1mm
Blue Mountains less than 2mm
Gosford 1mm
Cessnock less than 4mm
South Coast – Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven approximately 20mm
Tamworth no rain

The overnight rain will be absorbed by the dry ground and lessen the intensity of the active fire, but is not enough to extinguish the fires.

No total fire bans have been declared for today.

Baulkham Hills / Hornsby Districts – Chilvers Lane Fire (40,000ha)

Light rain has fallen overnight on the fire in the Baulkham Hills/ Hornsby area which has burnt over 40,000 ha stretching from Lower Portland through Maroota, Wisemans Ferry, Kenthurst, Maraylya, Middle Dural, Arcadia, Berowra, Berowra Waters, Birralee, Berowra Heights, Brooklyn and Canoelands. The fire has entered the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
Crews have established significant containment lines around the fires and crews will focus today on mop up and patrol.

Blue Mountains

The Blackheath Glen fire (6,160ha) is being controlled. Backburning occurred on the southern flank around Shipley Plateau, through Medlow Bath to Wentworth Falls. Numerous spot overs occurred in the area to the south of Medlow Bath near the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Helicopter waterbombing, in conjunction with ground crews, was used in an attempt to control these spot overs unfortunately properties were severely damaged as a result.

Despite cool conditions and misty rain, backburning is still being carried out in the Megalong Valley and in other areas of the fireground crews will focus on containment strategies, mop up and patrol.


The Myal Range fire, in the Watagong State Forest, has affected 30ha. Crews yesterday focussed on waterbombing the fire to enable ground crews to commence mop up and crews are working on a handtool line today.

The Tollagong fire (1,050ha) spotted over in several places yesterday and crews pulled back in an attempt to contain it. Light rain in the areas has inhibited work on a backburn along the eastern side of the fire to protect properties in the Putty Valley.

The Davis Creek/ Mt Royal fire is holding at this time. Control lines have been put on the southern edge and a dozer line on western edge. Crews will work today on the southern containment line.

The threat has eased at the Oakley Lane fire (4,200 ha) although it still has potential to threaten properties on the Broke Road. Containment lines have been completed on northern, eastern and southern sides of the fire and a handtool line has been constructed on the western side of the fire.


The Touga fire spotted over containment lines in various directions yesterday, which had the potential to threaten property. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft waterbombed the fire in an attempt to protect properties and ground crews were on scene yesterday.
Rain in the area may prevent ground crews and aircraft entering the fireground.


Rain has fallen on most of the fires in the Eurobodalla district and has lessened the intensity of the fires. Crews will focus today on containment, mop up and patrol strategies, if the roads aren’t too slippery and muddy for them to access the fires.


The Wellums Creek fire, in the Yengo National Park, impacted upon Mangrove Mountain.
Control lines around Mangrove Mountain and Pemberton Road have been established and control lines will be established from Waratah Road to Dubbo Gully. The rain is likely to prevent a backburn today and crews will be working on mop up and patrol.


The Jerusalem Creek fire, 20km northeast of Dungog, is contained. The fire has burned 60 ha. Crews have worked to put in a control line around the head of the fire, and successfully protected a home in the Jerusalem Nature Reserve.


The Moonbi fire (1,100ha) moved into the Moonbi Ranges and was posing a threat to a communications tower. This threat appears to have abated. There has been no rain on the fireground overnight.

Due to the rugged terrain, containment lines have been difficult to establish, but crews will continue to work on these.

Great Lakes

The Postman Ridge (1,100 ha) in the Bulahdelah State Forest has undergone significant containment works and there appears to be no areas of imminent concern.

Yesterday crews worked on property protection and strategies to contain the fire east of the Lakes Way between Clarkes Road and Mayers Flat and this will continue today.
Estimated property loss at this time is 42 homes.

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)

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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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