GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

24 Januar 2003


Latest satellite images:BushfiresRaging in Southeast Australia

Smoke billows out over the Pacific Ocean from raging bushfires in southeastAustralia. This image of the fires (red dots) was captured by the ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aquasatellite on  21 January  2003, around 3:00 p.m. local time

Source: NASA/ EO

 

 

In southeastern Australia, bushfires are raging out of control. At the border ofsoutheast New South Wales and northeast Victoria in the Great Dividing RangeMountains, dozens of out-of-control fires have destroyed at least 400 homes andkilled four people according to local news reports from Tuesday, 21 January 2003. The fires are approaching Australia’s capital city of Canberrain the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and residents have been urged to takeimmediate fire precautions.

Among the devastating losses, more than two dozen farms have been destroyedand hundreds of livestock have perished. Many farmers are being forced torapidly sell remaining livestock as the fires have destroyed all availablepasture.

This true-color ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Terra satelliteon 19 January  2003, shows the numerous bushfires marked with red dots, aswell as the thick, choking smoke. The ACT is almost completely shrouded in smokefrom the densest concentrations of fires (left of center). Fires are alsoburning northwest of Sydney (top center). Conditions are expected to worsen asthe week progresses, with high temperatures and winds up to 65 knots (71 milesper hour) whipping the blazes further out of control. More than 900 firefightersare battling the fires, and more continue to pour in from surroundingterritories to lend a hand.

Source: NASA/ EO

 

 

Heat signatures (red), burn scars(charcoal), and smoke (light blue haze) are visible from fires burning in partsof in New South Wales and in parts of Victoria, Australia, in these ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images  from21  January 2003, captured by the Aqua satellite. Also visible in theseimages is smoke (indikated by the yellow arrows) being transported over theTasman Sea.

Source: OSEI/NOAA

Heat signatures (red) and smoke (lightblue haze) are visible from fires burning in parts of in New South Wales and inParts of Victoria, Australia, in this ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from 20 January2003, captured by the Terra satellite. Over the weekend four people were killedand about 400 homes destroyed by a blaze near Canberra, Australia (AustralianCapital Territory).

Source: OSEI/NOAA

 

 

This false-color map of theworld  shows an aerosol index produced from data collected by the Total ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) on19  January 2003.The large cluster of fires in Australia in southern New South Wales is easily identified by the large area of red. The aerosol plume clearly affects a larger area than it seems to in true-color imagery. This is because the TOMS aerosol index uses observations collected in the ultraviolet (UV) part of the spectrum. Aerosols that appear transparent in true-color imagery can be revealed by UV analysis. The principle is similar to certain “invisible” magic markers that produce writing that can only be seen under special UV (“black”) lights. 

Source: Total ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS)


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)

 

 

Overview Australia:

Bushfireswhich threatened the Australian capital Canberra eased on Wednesday, but therewere warnings that with more hot, dry weather predicted for the weekend, thethreat has not yet passed. 

Attentionswitched to the southern state of Victoria, where several towns in thenorth-east were threatened by two new fires, and to the island of Tasmania. InVictoria, fire-fighters were trying to set up control lines around small townsin the alpine region. 

Onthe island of Tasmania, fires destroyed five houses on Tuesday. Bulldozers wereclearing fire breaks around the capital Hobart after one fire threatened thecity.

Authoritiessaid the Victoria fires were believed to have been started deliberately.

Severedrought has led to flare-ups across Australia’s bush for months.

Thefires which hit Canberra at the weekend were some of the worst so far, leavingfour people dead and more than 400 homes destroyed. Insurance officials said theCanberra damage could cost A$150 ($90m). Latest estimates suggest 450 homes weredestroyed, in the worst fires in the city’s history.

 Source: BBC

 

A.C.T.

22 January 2003-TotalFire Ban For The Act Extended Another 6 Days

Due to the continuing weather forecastof strong winds and very high fire dangers in the ACT and the extent of bushfirecommitment the Chief Fire Control Officer has extended for a further 6 days thecurrent Total Fire Ban for the ACT, under the provisions of the Bushfire Act1936.

The Total Fire Ban will apply for anadditional 6 days commencing at 0000 hours (Midnight tonight 21/1/03) andcontinue to be in force for the whole of:

WEDNESDAY 22 JANUARY 2003 until MONDAY27 JANUARY 2003

A further notice will be issued if itis necessary to further extend or cancel the Ban.

As a result of the total fire bancontinuation the only fire allowed in the open air throughout the Territoryduring this time are those listed below as being a prescribed class of fireunder the Bushfire Act Regulations.

There are no exemptions for private,public or display fireworks during the Total Fire Ban period.

Exempt fires are:

  • Fires used inside a factory, as defined under the Bushfire Act, for manufacturing purposes;
  • Fires necessary for the maintenance or repair of essential services such as: light, power, water, sewerage, transport or communication, subject to the approval of the Chief Fire Control Officer; and
  • Gas or electric heating appliances used on your own premises (ie. gas and electric barbecues are OK, no wood, charcoal, or spirit burning appliances) provided these appliances are under constant adult supervision and attendance, with all flammable material cleared in all directions for 3 metres and within reach of an adequate and continuous supply of water that can be applied to the appliance.

Follow-up media contact: EmergencyServices Bureau 6207 8564; or 6207 8458

Source: canberraconnect

Fire alert lifted in ACT

Posted: Wednesday,22 January  2003 12:14 AM AEDT

The high fire alert for Canberra’s northern suburbs has been lifted.The ChiefMinister Jon Stanhope and the chief fire control Officer Peter Lucas-Smith havecompleted an aerial assessment of the danger to the areas of Belconnen,Gunghalin and Hall. Emergency Services bureau chief Mike Castle says the dangerhas eased with an easterly wind change. “That change has come through andthey’ve actually kept the fire within the containment lines,” he said.”They haven’t contained it to our north-west both those fires as Iunderstand it, so Peter believes that the wind shift which will come throughlessens that immediate bushfire threat, so that lifts that threat of bushfire inthe suburban Canberra area.” But the good news on the fire front has beentempered with the latest figures on property losses from the federal police. Anassessment of rural areas has added another 32 houses to the tally ofdestruction taking the number of houses damaged by Saturday’s firestorm to 451.The weather is forecast to get worse again on the weekend and the total fire banin the ACT has been extended to Monday. 

Appeal
Donations are flowing in from around the country to the ACT’s bushfire appeal.The Prime Minister has announced the Commonwealth will provide $500,000 to helpCanberra residents who have lost their homes. Mr Howard is continuing to tourthe devastation from the weekend fires. He says he hopes people will dig deep tohelp those in need.  The ACT Government has donated $100,000, theQueensland Government $50,000 and two major banks have each contributed$100,000. Large donations have also being made by the ACT’s electricity and gassupplier, sporting organisations and  community clubs. So far the fund hadraised $1.1 million.

Inquiry
The devastation caused by the Canberra fires has sparked a fresh debate overnational bushfire strategy and management. Less than three days after thedisaster in the national’s capital there are already calls for a nationalinquiry into fire management. The forestry industry is pushing for a review ofhazard reduction policies and the maintenance of fire trails in Australia’snational parks. The idea has been supported by the forestry union, but thoseresponsible for managing national parks say they are doing all they can.”We would always like to do more hazard reduction than we get done but theweather limits how much we can do,” Brian Gilligan from the NSW NationalParks and Wildlife service said. The role of firefighters has also come underscrutiny after confirmation the ACT’s professional firefighters were notinvolved in the incident management team, set up to respond to the Canberrablaze. The Firefighters Union is calling for a Senate inquiry to investigate theability of Australian fire services to react to extreme circumstances.

Timber losses reach the millions in ACT fires 

The Plantation Timber Associationestimates the ACT bushfires have cost the industry $65 million in lostproduction, after millions of cubic metres of softwood went up in smoke.
The Association’s executive officer, Peter Juniper, says the fires alsodestroyed other assets such as offices, and there will be job losses as a resultof the damage.
Mr Juniper rejects suggestion that the industry is to blame for some of theinferno in the ACT.
He says his members would be happy to sit down and discuss changes to the wayplantations are managed when they’re near urban areas. “I’m sure the industrywould be more than willing to participate in any discussion that might occurdown the track in regard to better planning, making sure that there areappropriate buffers and looking at addressing some of the issues associated withthe rights of people to live in bushland areas or areas adjacent to forests orplantations.”

More than 530 homes lost in ACT fires

The estimate of the number of homes destroyed in the ACT fires has risendramatically to more than 530.
Police say the number of homes destroyed from the devastating fires in urbanareas is around 500 – up from 419 as of yesterday.
Australian Federal Police operations commander Mandy Newton says that figureexcludes rural areas.
“It’s only the suburban areas of places like Duffy, Chapman, Kambah,”Ms Newton said.
The current figure for the number of homes lost in rural areas currently standsat 32, but police say that is certain to rise as officers scour deeper inregional areas.
A massive police investigation has begun into the fires, which also claimed fourlives.
Ms Newton says forensics officers have begun combing areas hit by the fires.
But she says the primary focus is on the four people who died.
“It’ll be a very large investigation, our current process is making sure wedeal with those people who died in the fires,” she said.
The fire threat has eased for the moment, but fire crews have been placed instrategic positions around Canberra’s north and in the Tidbinbilla valley.
The Emergency Services Bureau says the danger for Canberra could return thisweekend as temperatures again head into the high 30s and winds turn north-west.


NEW SOUTH WALES:

Statewide Total Fire Ban- for  22 January 2003

TheCommissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service has declared a STATEWIDE Total FireBan
The weather forecast for this area is very high temperature, low humidity andmoderate to strong winds. These conditions are conducive to fire activity andthe community is urged to take particular care. Fire danger in this area will beextreme or approaching extreme.
The Total Fire Ban will become effective for the 24 hours from MIDNIGHT TONIGHT,Tuesday, January 21, 2003 until MIDNIGHT Wednesday, 20 January 2003.
During a Total Fire Ban no fire of any kind may be lit in the open. Thisincludes incinerators and barbecues, which burn solid fuel, e.g. wood orcharcoal. 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 couldburn;
· 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: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/nsw/dist_map.shtml.

Members of the public can phone 1 800 654 443 or their local NSW Rural FireService Fire Control Centre for more information.

For more information (Please note this is for MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY):

DUTY MEDIA OFFICER (02) 9898 1855

Statewide Fire Update for  Wednesday, 22 January 2003 

Milder conditions prevail across allmajor fires in NSW, allowing firefighters to focus on containing nearly fires 30that have burnt over 400,000 hectares. No homes are currently under threat from bushfires and, while the Alpine Resortsremain closed, no evacuations are currently in place.  Residents in all bushfire prone areas, especially those in or around currentareas of bushfire activity, are being reminded to ensure that their propertiesare well prepared by taking all appropriate bushfire precautions.  Fire crews are currently investigating up to 50 new fires that may have resultedfrom dry lightning storms in the Northern Tablelands overnight.

Current Resources
Currently deployed in the field are approximately:
Personnel: 1500
Tankers: 430
Helicopters: 48
Fixed Wing Aircraft: 6
Plant & Equipment: 430

Weather (from the Bureau of Meteorology)
A Total Fire Ban until midnight Wednesday for all of NSW.
Fire Weather Warning for Very High to Extreme Fire Danger in the CentralTablelands, North West and Central West Slopes and Plains, South West Slopes,Riverina, Upper and Lower Western districts.Isolated showers or drizzle along the coast and adjacent ranges, contracting tothe north coast later tomorrow. Chance of isolated afternoon thunderstorms overthe northeast today and thenorthwest inland tomorrow. Remaining very warm to hot west of the Divide. Milderalong the coast.Generally moderate southwest to southeast winds, fresher on the far south coasttoday and the north coast tomorrow. Winds tending moderate southeast tonortheast tomorrow.

 

KosciuszkoNational Park Fire Facts Summary 

Overview
Almost 1300 people are now involved in the fire fighting operation in KosciuszkoNational Park. 236 000 hectares of the Park have now been affected by fire.
Fire fighters are expecting more favourable weather conditions over the nextfour days, which will allow them the opportunity to return to strategic firefighting rather than property protection. The focus between today and Saturdaywill be on establishing new containment lines and consolidating existingcontainment lines while aircraft continue waterbombing of hot spots.
Fire authorities continue to be frustrated by constant rumours of evacuationscirculating the community, particularly rumours about the evacuation ofJindabyne, which has not occurred. Visitors and some residents have beenevacuated from the resort areas.
Assets and other buildings in the resorts of Perisher, Smiggin Holes, CharlottePass, Thredbo and Guthega HAVE NOT been damaged by fire.
Priorities today in the northern section of the Park will focus on containmentlines at Talbingo, Gang Gang, Oldfields and Tooma River. Several spot overs haveoccurred outside of containment lines because of yesterday’s adverse weatherconditions.

Namadgi fires 
Large bushfires continue to burn in the Namadgi National Park West of Michelago,North West of Bredbo and North of Shannons Flat and Yaouk.
There are also several fires burning in Kosciuszko National Park West of Yaoukand Adaminaby. Some of these are very active and causing concern. Firebreakswere established along the ACT Border and across part of the Southern section ofNamadgi National Park in the past two days. Cooma Fire control has completed a15 kilometre backburn overnight along the Clear Range west of Michelago on thewestern side of the Murrumbidgee in Namadgi National Park. This has been done toprevent the easterly spread of this fire towards properties between Michelagoand Bredbo.
Property protection work has also been conducted around all properties in thearea considered at risk if the Namadgi fire jumps the Clear Range back burn andthe river.

Kosciuszko North Complex (formerly Tabletop and Yarrangobilly fires)
The southern boundary of this fire is active and is not contained, with fireburning to the south of Happy Jacks Road and west of Black Jack Fire Tower downinto Tooma River and Deep Creek. The old Jugumba Fire Trail – from Mt Jugumbanorth into the valley is being investigated as a possible containment line forthe western edge of this fire. The fire burning north from Tooma Dam (KhancobanComplex) has joined with the fire which has burnt from Wallaby Pt on the shoresof Eucumbene along the Munyang Range.
Backburning was undertaken to contain the fire within the area bounded by GangGang, Gavells Hut and Providence Portal. Crews in this area today willconcentrate on patrolling this south western edge and property protection ifrequired. The northern boundary of this fire is active but secure, and there isno immediate threat to Talbingo. Backburning was undertaken within thecontainment lines along the Snowy Mountains Highway. Fire crews will continue topatrol this area today and backburning is again planned for tonight.

Broken Cart Complex
Fires in the very northern end of the park – Stockyard, Broken Cart, Bendora,Gingera, moved south yesterday. This fire, north of Blue Waterholes, remainsuncontained. A fire south of Oldfields Hut of about 250 hectares has breachedthe containment line on Lone Pine Fire Trail, with active fire on its southernedge. Works to protect historic huts throughout this area will continue todaywhen possible. The south-eastern edge of Mt Morgan is also active again withsuppression operations occurring to contain this.
There is a containment line from Boundary Road and Brindabella Road to the westof Brindabella Valley. This line held yesterday and will be patrolled againtoday. The Wyora fire, which has joined with the Broken Cart fire, is burning tothe north of Brindabella Valley and is now within containment lines. Fire trailshave been graded and backburning operations may also be undertaken, dependingupon weather conditions, to stop the westerly run of the fire towards BondoState Forest.

Rennicks Dainers Gap fire near Perisher
This fire north of Perisher and Smiggins is being contained. However firefighters have been consolidating backburning between Link, Guthega andKosciuszko Road. The fire burning south of Perisher Valley and Smiggins throughto Rennicks Gap is not contained, after a major run under severe weatherconditions yesterday. Strategies to contain this fire are currently beingdeveloped.

Thredbo
The overall focus of activity is protecting the village from fires coming fromthe west and southwest. While there are fires near Dead Horse Gap and BrindleBull there is greater concern over fires burning in the Murray Valley furtherwest.
Backburning of a five hectare area on the western side of Thredbo village hascontinued. This links with the golf course which is being kept green throughconstant watering. North of the golf course a recently constructed dozer trailhas been put in around the Crackenback Ridge precinct. This trail links with aski trail to the northeast of the village. Meantime fire fighters are pruningvegetation in and around property to reduce fuel availability.

Eucumbene Cove
On the western side of Lake Eucumbene overnight backburning from Wallaby Pointalong Burkes Road has been completed with the aim of preventing the southerlyspread of the fire into the village of Eucumbene Cove.

Youngal/Pinnibar/Main/Range/Hannels Spur fire
This fire is the combination of a number of fires which eventually joined withVictoria’s Pinnibar fire.
The western boundary of the Pinnibar section is within control lines andbackburning will continue. The southern boundary is contained. Spot fires havebeen occurring to the south.

Tooma- Scammels
Fire activity on the western flank of the Khancoban area is very quiet. Westerncontainment is solid and crews will be stood down in this area so they can besent to other areas of greater need. Fire fighters are mostly engaged in patroland mop up. The eastern side of this complex has moved into Cesjacks Ridge andKerry’s areas. Containment lines ere being established around the fire in theSnowy Plains area to prevent the fire spreading east towards the Eucumbene area.

Lighthouse Mountain
This 200 hectare fire near Tooma is outside the park and is contained.
The Mt Morgan, Reedy Creek, Nungar, Yellow Bog and Slaughterhouse fires appearto remain contained.

Community Meetings
Community meetings aimed at providing information on the fires and how peoplecan prepare for the threat of fire will be held today Wednesday 22 January 2003:
Goobarragandra and Argalong – Lacmalac Community Hall – 6:00pm
Jindabyne – Jindabyne cinema – 4:00pm & 5:30pm
Tumbarumba – Pioneer Hall – 7:30pm

Weather
The weather is forecast to be dry, 26-28 degrees and hazy with SE winds at 10/20 kilometres per hour becoming E/SE during the afternoon. Easterly winds couldincrease to 25/35 kilometres per hour in the late afternoon. At higherelevations winds are forecast to be W/SW between 15/25 kilometres per hourtending S/SW during the morning.

Thursday: Dry, high 20s, light to moderate E/NE winds in most areas, light W/SWwinds on the higher elevations.

Friday: Dry, high 20s to low 30s. Light to moderate W/NW winds on the westernside of the Park and N/NE winds on the eastern side.
Saturday: Dry, mid to high 30s, NW winds and Northerly on the eastern side.

Residents to remain on alert
All residents adjacent to Kosciuszko National Park are advised to remain on highalert and prepare their property against potential bushfire hazards.
Residents to remain on “high” alert are:

· Talbingo areas
· Shannons Flat and Yaouk Valley
· Lake Eucumbene, Providence Portal, Anglers Reach and Old Adaminaby
· surrounding Adaminaby
· Williamsdale, Michelago to Bredbo, Colinton, Murrumbucca
· surrounding Jindabyne
· as well as residents along the Alpine Way

Residents must prepare themselves for the threat of fire and be alert for rapidchange of conditions.
Kosciuszko National Park Road closures – Phone 1800 004 439 for the latest info
The Snowy Mountains Highway is closed from Adaminaby to Talbingo
The Kosciuszko Road is closed at the park entrance
The Guthega Road is now closed until further notice
The Alpine Way is closed at the intersection with Kosciuszko Road to Khancoban.
The Kiandra-Khancoban Road is now closed until further notice due to fireactivity
The Elliott Way is closed until further notice from Cabramurra to the Toomaturnoff
The Monaro Highway is open. This situation may change dependant upon fireactivity
The Talbingo Reservoir is closed until further notice due to fire activity.
The Barry Way is open as a through-way only. Campgrounds along the Barry Way areclosed.

Commitment
Almost 1,300 personnel are now involved in the fire fighting operation,including personnel from the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Rural FireService, State Forests NSW, NSW Fire Brigades, Queensland Fire Brigades, SnowyHydro, Transgrid, Country Energy, Roads and Traffic Authority, Police,Ambulance, State Emergency Service, Department of Community Services, NSWHealth, NSW Tourism, Country Fire Authority (Victoria), Bureau of Meteorology,Local councils and Rural Lands Protection Board.
There are ten fixed wing and 25 helicopters involved.

Livestock management
Arrangements can be made for livestock to be removed to safe locations. Fordetails contact Doug Alcock from the Department of Agriculture on 0411 139594.

Fire bans
A total fire ban is currently in force across NSW. A ‘park fire ban’ is inforce for all national parks and nature reserves across south eastern NSW untilfurther notice.

Kosciuszko National Park is closed
Entry to the park is not permitted; this includes the resort areas. The firethreat is still high in all areas of the park. There are no reports of propertyloss or damage in the Park including in the resort areas.

For further information contact:
Kosciuszko National Park Fire Hotline 1800 004 439
ACT Fire Information 132281
NSW Police Information 1800 227228
Tumut Information Line (02) 6947 6217/6947 6334

For more information (Please notethis is for MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY):
Media contact only:
Lawrence Orel 0418 442573
Stuart Cohen 0418 820 504
Media Only (02) 98981855

Source: NSW Rural FireService 

 

Bushfire threat

Posted Wednesday, 22 January  2003

Many small communities in the Snowy Mountains are preparing for the threat offire, under a shroud of thick smoke.More than 200-thousand hecatres of theKoscuisko National Park has been burnt since the fires started a fortnightago.Residents in towns bordering the park are on high alert and meeting havebeen held to provide information on the fire control effort.More than 200 peopleattended the meeting at Talbingo to hear about public health issues, homesecurity and evacuation proceedures.

For more information residents in the Tumut region should call 69 47 63 34

Source: ABC news

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VICTORIA:

Total FireBan for Victoria, 22 January 2003

Today Wednesday, 22 January 2003 has been declared a day of Total fire Banfor the North East Total Fire Ban district of Victoria. No fires may be lit orbe allowed to remain alight in the North East district until midnight tonight.People living in this district are advised to implement their bush fireprotection plan.

Victoria Fires Update 22 January 2003

Victorian windsput Wodonga at risk

Fire conditions in Victoria’s hot spots have taken a serious turn for the worse.A wind change in the northeast of the state yesterday whipped flames up to 250metres high, and within three hours, towns, private properties and even themajor regional centre of Wodonga were at risk. Thick orange smoke hangs over thetown today, and fire crews are struggling to control the massive blaze to itssouth which has burnt out 20,000 hectares.
Farmers like Bruce Lumsden from Buckland Valley, east of Mt Buffalo, have beenworking overtime to keep the fire off their land. “Yesterday was an extremelyhard day, an extremely busy day and a very uncertain day when you’re fightingthe fire and wondering where it’s going to go next. It’s a bit like a cricketmatch, it ebbs and flows and gives you a breathing space and says no I’m notgoing to annoy you now, and then it comes back just when you’re resting and getsstuck into you again and you can never really relax.”

 

Victoria  fires continue to burn out of control

Numerous properties and townships in Victoria’s north-east remain underthreat from large bushfires which continue to burn out of control.Severalcontainment lines are proving effective but firefighters are bracing for severeweather conditions forecast for the next few days. Victoria’s Country FireAuthority (CFA) chief fire officer Russell Rees does not expect to see the lightat the end of the tunnel for at least two weeks. But he says the tremendousefforts of communities in the Beechworth area is encouraging. “The minimallosses of that fire when it took a ferocious run indicate that it is possible inthese types of situations for the community to work with the fire service tohelp to protect themselves,” he said. The Beechworth fires are now posingthe biggest challenge for firefighters.  They are burning dangerously closeto the townships of Beechworth, Eldorado, Stanley and Yackandanda. Firefightersare bracing for an easterly wind change in the early evening which is likely tosend the fires towards Chiltern and Wodonga. The Mt Buffalo fires are againthreatening the historic Mt Buffalo Chalet as well as Harrietville and Bright.The Bogong fires are threatening Mt Beauty. Residents in these areas are beingurged to activate their fire plans and remain on high alert.  Those whochoose to leave are being asked to do so as soon as possible and can seek refugein emergency centres which have been set up in most townships. A fire is raginghalf a kilometre from farms in the Bundara Valley near Anglers Rest in EastGippsland. 

Bogong
Te huge Bogong, Feathertop and Razorback fires have formed an 80 kilometrefirefront. The fire is just half a kilometre away from one farm and 10kilometres from the world-renowned Blue Duck Hotel. Publican Graeme Brown saysat the moment an easterly wind is keeping the fires at bay. “When thosewinds swing around on Friday and Saturday, it’s going to come down here like asteam train,”  Mr Brown said.  “There’s no way it can avoidus, it’s impossible, it might swing around us or go over the top but we’ve gotto be prepared for it.” Beef Cattle farmer Cathy McCoy says the firessurround her farm on three sides.  The fire spotted near her houseyesterday, but she says an easterly wind is holding the huge firefront back.”The fire will creep through the dry stuff, it’s blowing it back up theBogongs today but with a northerly change it would be here in half asecond,” Ms McCoy said.

Arson suspected
The Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) believes two fires burning innorth-eastern Victoria may have been deliberately lit. The fires at Eldorado andStanley destroyed four homes overnight and are still threatening severaltownships. The CFA is also treating a fire at Lysterfield Park in Melbourne’seast yesterday as suspicious. Victorian Premier Steve Bracks says anyone foundto have started the fires will face the full force of the law. “Up to 25years imprisonment under our state laws will be employed for any arsonist who isfound to be guilty ultimately of starting one of these fires – it’s something Ifind absolutely reprehensible,” Mr Bracks said.

Source: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/

Listen to ABC radio on:
Wodonga 106.5, Bright 89.7, Corryong 99.7, and Goulburn Valley 97.7

PhoneHotlines
Victoria Police (road closures) 1800 444 343
Parks Victoria 13 19 63
CFA 13 15 99

Websites
Department of Sustainability and Environment

Community Updates
on the DS&E website are alsoavailable

Actual Fire Situation Maps,Victoria
An actual fire situation map can be found directly at:
http://www.nre.vic.gov.au/fires/updates/report/index.htm 

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TASMANIA:

BROADMARSH/BRIGHTON, SITUATION UPDATE
08:23:49 PM 22 January, 2003

In the Bluff Road division, dozer lines are being constructedon the western side of the fire.The majority of Millvale Road division is quiet,with some fire activity on Crane and Church Roads. Crewsare patrolling all areas and concentrating on the live fire fronts on thewestern flanks of both divisions. Dozers are working to widen the fire trail offCrane Road and to tie in with the south western corner of Bluff Road division. Backburninghas been commenced and is proving to be successful.

 

HIGH PRIORITY: BROADMARSH/BRIGHTON – SITUATION UPDATE
07:57:00 PM 22 January, 2003

A backburning operation is being conducted this evening on theslopes of Mt Dromedary as part of the control strategy being implemented on theBluff Road fire. Increased smoke levels will result andfire and / or a glow in the sky is likely. This is acontrolled operation and residents should not be alarmed as a result of whatseems to be increased fire activity. For furtherinformation, please refer to the Tasmania Fire Service website.

 

DARLING RANGES, FLINDERS ISLAND – SITUATION REPORT
06:59:16 PM 22 January, 2003

There have been multiple flare ups within the northern sectorfire boundaries today. Crews have been kept busy in the Lady Barron Sector placing athird containment line after an outbreak last night. Multiple flare ups have occurred within the fire boundary inthe Emita Sector, following a small outbreak last night. Crews will continue to patrol the containment line tonight andextinguish any spot fires which might occur. The wind has decreased this afternoon and temperatures haveremained in the low 20’s.

BROADMARSH/BRIGHTON – SITUATION UPDATE

05:35:30 PM 22 January, 2003

There are currently no houses under threat. The fire has been contained in the Millvale Road, Church Roadand Crane Road areas. Little fire activity in the Brighton, Bridgewater andElderslie Road areas. Back burning will continue in the Bluff Road area which mayproduce dense smoke.  Crews are dealing with an outbreak in the Stonyhurst Creekarea.

GEES ROAD, CAVESIDE – SITUATION UPDATE

05:30:38 PM 22 January, 2003

TFS crews are patrolling the area today, blacking out andensuring bark heaps are fully extinguished and edges continue to be safe.

WATSONS ROAD, GLEN HUON – SITUATION UPDATE

05:30:19 PM 22 January, 2003

Patrols continuing on the fire edges, blacking out and makingsafe.

GORDONS HILL, ROSNY – SITUATION UPDATE

04:49:16 PM 22 January, 2003

Crews are completing blacking out and mop up operations.

KREGORS ROAD, MIDDELTON – SITUATION UPDATE

04:42:15 PM 22 January, 2003

Patrols continue on the fire edges and are blacking out tomake safe.

STORMLEA ROAD, STORMLEA – SITUATION UPDATE

04:30:56 PM 22 January, 2003

Fire now contained, edges being patrolled and blacked out. Three dozers and five appliances are currently on site.

TWELVE TREES RANGE, STRATHGORDON – SITUATION UPDATE

11:10:47 AM 22 January, 2003

This fire is still going although it has not expanded.Services are concentrating on the southern end of the park.

Lots of tall trees are alight and peat fires have started.

CURRENT FIRE RESTRICTION INFORMATION

11:08:41 AM 22 January, 2003

The Total Fire Ban restriction has been lifted for the state. There is an embargo on fire permits – permits will not beissued until further notice. TFS is not recommending any garden rubbish or similar smallfires be lit in the open at this time. There is no restriction on the use of barbecues or campfires,although all normal precautions should be taken (ie clear 3m around the fire).

BEN LOMOND MARSHES – SITUATION REPORT

11:02:56 AM 22 January, 2003

The TFS is currently working on making a 50m track from GippsCreek Rd to Storey Creek Rd as a fall-back track for Rossarden Rd. 6 appliancesare in attendance

Wind is currently travelling SW at 5-15 knots.

GORDONS HILL RD., LINDISFARNE – SITUATION REPORT

10:49:10 AM 22 January, 2003

This fire has been contained without the loss of anybuildings.

5 apppliances are patrolling.

FLINDERS ISLAND – SITUATION REPORT

10:42:46 AM 22 January, 2003

Fire is now under control. The TFS have 9 units mopping up. Loss has been contained to 1700ha, 1 derelict house andseveral sheds.

BLUFF RD, BROADMARSH – SITUATION UPDATE

10:32:53 AM 22 January, 2003

The TFS have 21 appliances still working on this fire. Todate, we have lost one house plus outbuildings and 4500ha.

UXBRIDGE RD – SITUATION UPDATE

10:25:55 AM 22 January, 2003

This fire is still going. 1200ha have been lost so far. TFS have 2 appliances working at the scene, with assistancefrom 6 other appliances from Norske Skog. Also have 5 bulldozers in operation

KREGORS RD, MIDDLETON – SITUATION UPDATE

10:12:42 AM 22 January, 2003

The fire has been contained but not yet fully controlled Four houses and numerous outbuildings have been lost

Brigades are on property protection at this time 22nd January, 10:10 am – 4 houses, 1 shed and 40ha lost atthis point. Situation is otherwise under control.

Source: Tasmania Fire Service (TFS)

To check the current weather situation,follow this link to the Bureau of Meteorology weather forecast for Tasmania http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/tas/

Actual Fire Situation Maps, Tasmania

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

 

Australia´s fire seasons


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