GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

24 Januar 2003


Latest satellite images:BushfiresRaging in Southeast Australia

Bushfires in southeast Australia are still burning out ofcontrol, threatening farmland, livestock, and homes in Victoria and New SouthWales, Australia. More than 500 homes have been destroyed, and several townshave fires within one or two kilometers of the city limits. Erratic winds pushthe fires, some of which have been burning for weeks, one way and then another,frustrating and exhausting the hundreds of firefighters battling the blazes.This Moderate ResolutionImaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image of the fires (red dots) was acquired22 January  2003, around 11:30 a.m. local time.

Source: NASA/ EO

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 Aqua satellite on  21 January  2003, around 3:00 p.m. local time

Source: NASA/ EO

Smoke (tan haze) is visible from fires burning in parts of New South Wales and in parts of Victoria, Australia, in this image from 22 January2003. The smoke, indicated by the yellow arrows, is visible extending far outacross the Tasman Sea.

Source: OSEI/NOAA

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

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.

States in Australia’s south and east are readying for a weekend of soaringtemperatures and high fire risk today.

South Australia’s Premier, Mike Rann has called a special meeting of hisEmergency Management Council today, for a briefing on the fire risk and lessonsthat can be learned from the eastern states.

Temperatures in the 40s are forecast for the state this weekend, with conditionscompared to 1983, the year of the Ash Wednesday fires.

The same hot temperatures and dry winds are forecast for Tasmania, whereemergency services in the Midlands have already had a taste of the fires.

Samantha Donovan reports the worst of Tasmania’s blazes is in the farming areaof Broadmarsh north- west of Hobart.

Fires have burnt out 5,500 hectares since the weekend. One house and someoutbuildings have been destroyed and there are unconfirmed reports of livestocklosses.

The blaze has also been threatening lucrative poppy crops.

Fires in Tasmania’s north-east have been contained. But the fire on FlindersIsland, which has burnt 17,500 hectares over the last two weeks, continues toburn.

Source: ABC news

A.C.T.

23 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

Canberra
ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says an independent inquiry will be held intolast Saturday’s fires.
Mr Stanhope is still focused on restoring people’s lives and tackling any newfire threat to Canberra.
But he has indicated he will not wait for the results of lengthy coronialinquests before starting a separate inquiry.
“Because of the need for it to be objective, to be seen to be objective,and to be truly objective, I will ensure it’s an inquiry that’s facilitated bysomeone who’s at arms length from the ACT Government or the Emergency ServicesBureau,” he said.
He says the details are still to be discussed but the inquiry will look at everyaspect of the Emergency Services Bureau’s response.
Meanwhile, unfavourable weather has postponed backburning around Canberra’snorthern suburbs.
ACT chief fire control officer Peter Lucas-Smith says his crews hope toestablish a 100-metre buffer ahead of weekend weather similiar to lastSaturday’s conditions.
“I think we’re certainly talking about fires that would have the potentialto have the same kind of run on them, but whether they’re fires with the samekind of intensity, it’s highly unlikely,” Mr Lucas-Smith said.
Fires to the north-west and south of Canberra are within containment lines.

Source: ABC news


NEW SOUTH WALES:

Four day Statewide Total Fire Ban from midnight Thursday 23 January to midnight Monday 27 January

Extreme fire dangerweather conditions predicted for the Australia Day long weekend has caused theCommissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service to declare a special four day,Statewide Total Fire Ban. The special declaration is unprecedented in NSWhistory and will run from midnight tonight, Thursday 23 January to midnightMonday 27 January.
Conditions are expected to begin to deteriorate tomorrow but will peak on Sundaywith 43 degree temperatures and strong northwesterly winds.
There is currently over 100km of active fire in NSW’s southeast, which will beparticularly vulnerable to such extreme weather.
Communities are expected to come under threat and fire authorities are currentlypreparing resources for what will be a very challenging weekend.
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 Bureauof 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.
THIS TOTAL FIRE BAN INFORMATION SHOULD BE CARRIED AS PART OF ALL WEATHERFORECAST BROADCASTS IN THE LEAD UP TO AND DURING THE TOTAL FIRE BAN PERIOD.
The Rural Fires Act 1997 – Section 99 (2) states: “As soon as practicableafter making a direction under this section, the Minister is … (a) to causenotice of the direction to be broadcast by a television or radio stationtransmitting to the part or parts of the State concerned and in a newspapercirculating in those parts”

FOR MEDIA ONLY: For more information or interviews regarding fire danger &fire safety:
Duty Media Officer 02 9898 1855.

Kosciuszko NationalPark Fire Facts Summary 

Thursday, 23 January2003, 1000 hours

Overview
Overnight conditions varied between the north and the south of the park, withwindy conditions causing some difficulties on the western side of the NorthKosciuszko Fires.
A new fire has broken out near Circuit Hut south of Tantangara. Authorities arealso concerned about a spot over south of Tom Groggin, which has grownconsiderably in the past 24 hours.
The main focus in the north today will be mopping up Talbingo and the Blue WaterHoles Fire Trail.
Weather in the south however was cool allowing backburning and containmentoperations to continue until early morning.
While one house has been lost in the Snowy Plains area the immediate threatappears to have eased around Providence Portal, Anglers Reach and Old Adaminaby.
Mild conditions are again expected today. This will allow fire fighters tocontinue implementing containment strategies in preparation for severe fireweather expected over the weekend.

Fire status

South Kosciuszko fires
There are fires burning on the western side of the Main Range. These fires havetravelled from Victoria and joined with a fire complex in the Youngal/Hannelsarea. The area of most concern is the fire currently in Victoria’s Bogong areaand preparatory work is being undertaken between the lower Thredbo River andIngebyra.

Thredbo and Perisher fires
Backburning continued overnight until around 2am when temperatures became toocool for backburning. Fire fighters took advantage of the benign conditions tocontinue tidying containment lines and mopping up.Asset protection works between Perisher, Smiggins, Wilsons Valley and WastePoint has continued. Backburning in some areas and a dozer line from Rennix Gapto the Thredbo River will be attempted today to halt an easterly advance offire. Aircraft are working to hold the fire up higher in the Valley.At Thredbo the overall focus of activity is protecting the village against firescoming from the west and southwest. The fire is now 2 km from the village. Abackburn is to be completed today to consolidate fire advance to the west andnorthwest of Thredbo on the western edge of the Funnel Web ski run.

Tom Groggin area
Fire authorities are concerned about another fire in the Tom Groggin area, whichbegan from a spot fire two days ago and has grown considerably in the Alpine ashcountry south of the Alpine Way. Planners are now working on strategies totackle this fire.

Khancoban
The western side of the south Kosciuszko fires remain secure. This area isgenerally quiet with fire fighters patrolling and mopping up the fire edge.

Eucumbene area
The immediate threat has eased at Providence Portal, Anglers Reach and OldAdaminaby while the backburn along the western shores of Lake Eucumbene hascontinued. Backburning around Eucumbene Cove has been completed and is beingpatrolled. Overnight another backburn from Cooks Racecourse down to theGungarlin River has also been completed.The spot over on Gang Gang Mountain has been contained with a backburn from theSnowy Mountains Highway to Gavells Hut and back to Tantangara Road. There isanother spot fire near Circuit Hut south of Tantangara Reservoir and this willbe a focus of containment activity today.North Kosciuszko Fires (formerly Tabletop and Yarrangobilly fires).A backburn went in around Talbingo last night and has been completedsuccessfully. Today there will a taskforce to patrol and mop up. The immediatethreat for Talbingo has now eased. The western edge of this fire is now secureand is being patrolled. However, spot fires were experienced overnight under theinfluence of easterly winds in the southwestern flank on the Upper Murray PowerLine Road. These spotfires are being contained by air attack this morning.The Broken Cart fire continues to move south towards the Blue Waterholes FireTrail. A taskforce will patrol between Oldfields and Long Plain road in anattempt to hold that fire. The Oldfields and Mt Morgan fires south of Lone Pinefire trail continue to burn however containment lines have been establishedbetween the Murrumbidgee Fire Trail and the top of Lone Pine. From Long Plainroad to Wyora the western edge is now secure and is being patrolled.

ACT/Namadgi fires
Fire continues to burn northwest of Michelago, northwest of Bredbo and northof Shannon’s Flat and Yaouk in Namadgi National Park. Firebreaks have beenestablished along the ACT Border and across the southern section of NamadgiNational Park and the Scabby Range Nature Reserve in the past three days.Backburning was carried out from part of these breaks, utilising the southerlywind change, on Tuesday night. To provide added protection to residents in thearea the 15km Clear Range backburn has been extended overnight. Fire fightersput in a 10km backburn from the bottom end of the Clear Range southwest toBoboyan Road in the Mt Clear- Horse Gully Hut area. Yesterday’s weather easedthe situation slightly, however spot overs is still a concern. It is hoped thatmost fires can be contained by backburning and mopping up of spot fires in thisarea.In preparation for the possibility of fire from the north, property protectionwork has been carried out in the top of the Yaouk Valley.

Weather
The weather is forecast to be dry, with a maximum of 29 degrees. Winds areforecast to be light SE/NE wind in the Michelago area this morning, which mayswing NE in the afternoon. In the Kosciuszko area, light NW winds are expectedin the morning, which will swing SW on the west side of the Park and SE on theeast side of the Park during the day. Winds will eventually swing E/NEthroughout the Park later in the day or evening. Overnight winds will be lightNE/NW.

Further outlook:
Friday: Dry with temperatures to mid 30s at low elevations with light NWwinds to start with. Moderate N/NE winds will develop on the eastside during theafternoon and may extend across to the westside in the evening.

Saturday: Dry with temperatures in the high 30s. Winds will be light NW atfirst, possibly becoming moderate in the afternoon and being replaced bymoderate NE in the afternoon. These NE winds may not extend to the western sideof the Park at all.

Sunday: Dry, very hot with temperatures in the low 40s and at least high 20s inthe alpine areas. Moderate to fresh NW winds ahead of a S/SW change are likelyin the afternoon. Wind speeds around 25/35km per hour can be expected.

Residents to remain fire aware
Despite milder weather conditions residents should remain aware that firescontinue to burn and are expected to flare once the weather deteriorates towardsthe weekend.

Residents are advised to “remain aware” especially in the:
· Talbingo area
· Adaminaby, Shannons Flat and Yaouk Valley
· Lake Eucumbene and Rocky Plains
· Williamsdale, Michelago to Bredbo, Colinton, Murrumbucca
· surrounding Jindabyne, Wollondibby, Ingebyra
· as well as residents along the Alpine Way

The immediate threat in the Providence Portal, Anglers Reach and Old Adaminabyareas has eased.

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 Tumbarumba to Khancoban Road is open.
The Barry Way is open as a throughway only. Campgrounds along the Barry Way areclosed.

Commitment
Almost 1300 personnel are now involved in the fire fighting operation, includingpersonnel from the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Rural Fire Service,State Forests NSW, NSW Fire Brigades, Queensland Fire Brigades, Snowy Hydro,Transgrid, Country Energy, Roads and Traffic Authority, Police, Ambulance, StateEmergency Service, Department of Community Services, NSW Health, NSW Tourism,Country Fire Authority (Victoria), Bureau of Meteorology, Local councils andRural Lands Protection Board.
There are ten fixed wing and 25 helicopters involved.

Livestock management
The Rural Lands Protection Board can provide advice on livestock arrangements.If livestock is at risk, owners can consider relocation or keeping animals inone defendable area, away from fire hazards such as long grass and bush.
For details contact Doug Alcock from the Department of Agriculture on 0411139594.

Community Assistance
People affected by the fire situation can access Centrelink services at theDisaster Recovery Centre at the Memorial Hall in Jindabyne from 8am to 4pm dailyuntil 12 noon on Friday 25 January 2003. Services available include advice,immediate assistance and registration for people who have become unemployed.

Fire bans
A ‘park fire ban’ is in force for all national parks and nature reservesacross southern NSW until further notice.

Kosciuszko National Park is closed
Entry to the park is not permitted; this includes the resort areas.
The fire threat is still high in all areas of the park.

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
Rural Fire Service local brigades for advice on safety precautions.

Websites
www.npws.nsw.gov.au

www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

Bureau of meteorologywebsite with educational material about bushfires which may be useful for themedia for background material: www.bom.gov.au/inside/services_policy/fireag/bushfire/bushfire.htm

Listen to Radio 2XL, Snowy Mountains FM and ABC Bega

For more information (Please note this is for MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY):
Media contact only: Stuart Cohen 0418 820 504

Source: NSW Rural FireService 

.

VICTORIA:

Total FireBan for Victoria, 23 January 2003
Today Thu, 23 Jan 2003 is not a Day of Total Fire Ban.Today

Total FireBan for Victoria, 24 January 2003
 Tomorrow Fri, 24 Jan 2003 has been declared a Day of Total Fire Ban in theNorth Western, North Eastern, South Western and Central Total Fire Bandistrict(s) of Victoria.
No fires may be lit or be allowed to remain alight in the open air from Fri, 24Jan 2003 12:00 AM until Sat, 25 Jan 2003 12:00 AM.

Victoria Fires Update 23 January 2003

Vic fire crews prepare for weekend battle
Thursday, January  23, 2003. Posted: 11:17:39 (AEDT)

In Victoria’s north-east, fire crews are working frantically to try tocontain blazes ahead of predicted soaring temperatures at the weekend.
Efforts are centred on the townships of Mitta Mitta, Dartmouth and Beechworth,which came under direct threat overnight.
Firefighters say while the situation has stabilised, residents should remain onhigh alert across the north-east.
At Bright, army reservists are helping to build further containment lines to thesouth of the township, after the Mount Buffalo bushfire flared up overnight.
Incident controller at Ovens, Paul Marnie, says firefighters are keeping awatchful eye on the weather.
“Obviously it depends on conditions later today,” he said.
“Wind will be critical to us, but we’re hopeful we can consolidate thatline, we’ve got a good depth in the backburn to date.”

Source: ABC news

Towns on alert as weather set to worsen
Posted: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 18:57 AEDT

Milder weather conditions in Victoria’s fire ravaged north-east are expectedto take a turn for the worse.
Communities surrounding the towns of Bright, Dartmouth, Mitta Mitta andBeechworth are on alert as fires burn out of control in the Alpine Country.
Further south, residents in the Omeo district are preparing in case a large fireturns back towards them.
Four homes have been burnt down and several sheds and outbuildings destroyedsince the fires began.
Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment spokesman Kevin Monk sayscrews today focused on improving property protection ahead of tomorrow’snortherly wind change and predicted weekend temperatures of 40 degrees.
“We continue to do some work in the south area where we can around thesefires,” Mr Monk said.
“They’re very large and they’re in some difficult country and we’re doingwhat we can, but these fires are large and the weather’s against us.”

Source: ABC news

General Fires Update 23rd Jan 1.30pm
Update on the Pinnabar and Bogong areas 23/01/2003

Pinnabar Fire at 0950hrs
Control lines in the Pinnabar area held well overnight causing very goodconditions for backburning. More backburning will occur today in the Benambraarea.
A number of spot fires which began overnight are all under control.

Bogong West Area at 1025hrs
Conditions were very smoky overnight due to an increase in fire activity.
The following local communities were placed on alert and asked to put theirbushfire plans into place
– Dartmouth
– Mitta Mitta
– Basin Rd
– Bucheen Creek
– Bull Head Creek
– Cravensville
– Henlon
– Eskade
– Wyeedebo
– Tallantoon
– Little Snowy Creek

Conditions are more settled today, with winds slowing to approximately 25km perhour.

Bogong East Area at1100hrs
Fires have extended a little further west, however mostly stayed within controllines overnight.

Benambra area: Going and is now north of the pig farm
Protection of private property is our main priority.

Omeo area: Going
Dozers continue with freehold property particularly in the Shannonvale,Glenvalley areas and properties to the north

Hotham area: CFA continues with asset protection

What to do: All residentsthreatened by fire are advised to activate their bushfire plans and remain alertof conditions around them.
Those choosing to leave home should leave early. It isunsafe to be on the roads as the fire approaches.

A number of emergency centres have been established and details of these are asfollows:

Rural City of Wodonga’s Municipal Emergency Relief Centres
– Wodonga Leisure Centre, Hedge Road (02 6059 1522)
– Wodonga Civic Centre, Hovell Street (02 6055 9300)

Beechworth Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Beechworth Memorial Hall
Yackandandah Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Yackandandah Hall, High Street(Next to Indigo Shire Offices)
There are also information hotlines for people in the Towong Shire (02) 60715100 and the Alpine Shire 5755 0524
Those choosing to stay and defend their property areadvised of the following:
Remain alert – embers may be falling on or near your property and should beextinguished immediately.
Protect yourself from radiant heat by wearing natural fibres and long sleevedshirts, long pants, sturdy boots, and a broad brimmed hat. Do not wear syntheticclothing.
Fill sinks, baths and buckets with water to ensure water supplies are available- water pressure in the area may drop due to high demand. After the fire front passes, remain vigilant – embers may continue to fall forseveral hours.


General Fires Update 23 Jan 11:30hrs
Updates on the fires in Lysterfield, Scarsdale and Craigieburn 23/01/2003

The Lysterfield fire has beencontained and firefighting crews are remaining on scene to patrol the area.
The Scarsdale fire (located between the townships ofSnake Valley and Linton) is now contained and is also being patrolled. At itslargest, the fire was 63 hectares and destroyed a number of small outbuildings.
The Craigieburn fire is now contained and patrollingcontinued through last night. Two fires occurred yesterday with the largest ofthe two burning approximately 20 hectares. The smaller fire burnt throughtapproximately 2.5 hectares.
Residents should expect that embers from these fires may continue for severalhours, and should continue to patrol their homes and check roof spaces,under-floor spaces, and areas where leaves commonly gather to ensure thatnothing is burning.

It is vital that people at home look after their own health by regularlydrinking water to avoid becoming dehydrated and suffering heat exhausted.

For further general information the followingresources are suggested:
Victoria Police Information hotline (road closures) 1800 444 343
Parks Victoria Hotline 13 19 63

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) website

DSECommunity Updates – available for Upper Murray, Ovens and Kiewa Valley,Gippsland and Bogong fires. Detailed reports, produced daily.

NSW RuralFire Service website

And Stay Tuned to your local radio station.

Incident Updates

UPDATE ON BOGONG COMPLEX FIRES 1700 HRS
Residents in the high country town of Omeo and surrounding districts have spenttoday preparing their fire plans, attending community meetings and cleaning uparound their homes and properties as they wait to see how the fire situationdevelops.
A mild, calm day has kept the situation quiet today, but Incident Controller BenRankin said that fire activity in the Shannonvale and Bundara Valley areas andon Mount Hotham is causing the most concern at the moment.
‘The fires are not burning too fiercely today because of the milder conditions,but there is still a threat to property and we’re doing all we can to protectthose at risk,’ Mr Rankin said.
Asset protection continues to be the main focus and is progressing well.Backburning east and west of Hotham resort is underway, 15kms of dozer workshave been completed on the Twins Road, south east of Hotham and dozers are nowreturning to work on the Alpine Road. A mineral earth break 50 metres wide hasbeen established around the town of Benambra.
CFA fire crews are patrolling affected areas, monitoring asset protection,checking water points and availability and working with DSE/DPI crews on mineralbreaks, clearing and backburning.
Community meetings at Benambra, Swifts Creek and Dargo today, presented byDSE/DPI and CFA staff have kept residents up to date with the fire situation intheir areas, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedbackto the agencies involved in the fire suppression effort.
The Bowens Track fire south of Tubbut has now burned through 1350 ha withinproposed control lines, but has spotted over to burn 310 ha of private property.Dozer lines around these spotovers are nearly complete and an aircraft issupporting the blacking out works with Phoscheck bombing.

BACKBURNS IN PROGRESS TO PROTECT MITTA MITTA & DARTMOUTH
The Bogong fire has been active around Dartmouth overnight. Excellent work byfire crews ensured that the fire in the area was held within containment lines,despite strong winds and very low relative humidity.
Following a backburn last night, at Dartmouth, crews have been working oncontaining the fire south of the Mitta Mitta river. A small spot fire north ofthe river was contained this morning.
The fire is now 3 kilometres south of Mitta Mitta near Doctors Creek. A backburnoff Disappointment Track is currently being prepared to link into an adjacentfuel reduction burn carried out last year to provide further protection to theMitta Mitta township.
Granite Flat properties continue to be protected without damage to date.Monitoring will continue today and into the foreseeable future.
It is important for the communities of Dartmouth, Mitta Mitta, Basin Road,Bucheen Creek, Bull Head Creek, Cravensville, Henlow, Eskdale, Wyeeboo,Tallandoon and Little Snowy Creek continue to implement their fire safety plans.
Residents need to be aware that the CFA cannot guarantee a fire truck and crewto protect individual homes.
What to do: All residents threatened by fire areadvised to activate their bushfire plans and remain alert of conditions aroundthem.
Those choosing to leave home should leave early. It isunsafe to be on the roads as the fire approaches.
A number of emergency centres have been established and details of these are asfollows:
Rural City of Wodonga’s Municipal Emergency Relief Centres
– Wodonga Leisure Centre, Hedge Road (02 6059 1522)
– Wodonga Civic Centre, Hovell Street (02 6055 9300)
Beechworth Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Beechworth Memorial Hall
Yackandandah Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Yackandandah Hall, High Street(Next to Indigo Shire Offices)
There are also information hotlines for people in the Towong Shire (02) 60715100 and the Alpine Shire 5755 0524
Those choosing to stay and defend their property areadvised of the following:
Remain alert – embers may be falling on or near your property and should beextinguished immediately.
Protect yourself from radiant heat by wearing natural fibres and long sleevedshirts, long pants, sturdy boots, and a broad brimmed hat. Do not wear syntheticclothing.
Fill sinks, baths and buckets with water to ensure water supplies are available- water pressure in the area may drop due to high demand.
After the fire front passes, remain vigilant – embers may continue to fall forseveral hours.

Beechworth Fires Update 23 Jan11:00hrs

Considerable fire activity has occurred South of Beechworthovernight. Known as the Stanley fire, considerable spotting around midnightcaused increased fire activity in Dingle Road; Mad Man’s Gully Road; LowerStanley Road; Silver Creek and around the Beechworth Gun Club.
Residents were encouraged to put their safety plans in action and keep informedthrough local radio of the situation. Sixty residents registered at theemergency centre in Beechworth for the night. The majority were elderly.
Emergency crews in Yackandandah and Eldorado concentrated on reinforcing controllines and blacking out areas within the perimeter of the fire, but it is stillburning. Residents are urged to be aware of fallen trees across local roads.
One firefighter was taken to hospital for observation suffering from heatexhaustion and fatigue. She is to be released early today.
The weather for today is only expected to reach the low thirties with a northeasterly wind.
The current number of combined fire fighters working on the line is 400.
What to do: All residents threatened by fire areadvised to activate their bushfire plans and remain alert of conditions aroundthem.

Those choosing to leave home should leave early. It isunsafe to be on the roads as the fire approaches.

A number of emergency centres have been established and details of these are asfollows:

Rural City of Wodonga’s Municipal Emergency Relief Centres
– Wodonga Leisure Centre, Hedge Road (02 6059 1522)
– Wodonga Civic Centre, Hovell Street (02 6055 9300)

Beechworth Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Beechworth Memorial Hall

Yackandandah Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Yackandandah Hall, High Street(Next to Indigo Shire Offices)

There are also information hotlines for people in the Towong Shire (02) 60715100 and the Alpine Shire 5755 9524

Those choosing to stay and defend their property areadvised of the following:

Remain alert – embers may be falling on or near your property and should beextinguished immediately.

Protect yourself from radiant heat by wearing natural fibres and long sleevedshirts, long pants, sturdy boots, and a broad brimmed hat. Do not wear syntheticclothing.

Fill sinks, baths and buckets with water to ensure water supplies are available- water pressure in the area may drop due to high demand.

After the fire front passes, remain vigilant – embers may continue to fall forseveral hours.


Alpine and East Gippsland Fires 23rd Jan 11am

Alpine and East Gippsland Fires  CURRENT SUMMARY
Two fires near Beechworth that started on Tuesday afternoon have burnt acombined area of nearly 9,000 hectares. For details of these fires please callCFA media on (03) 9262 8228.
The Mt Buffalo fire again threatened Bright and nearby townships late yesterday.It remains however around 3 km to the west of the town and has not entered pineplantations between the fire and the town. Backburning was not possible lastnight until after midnight due to strong winds.
At the Mt Hotham Alpine Village last night the Bogong fire spotted over theGreat Alpine Road and commenced burning on the Summit Ski Run. Specialist CFAstructural fire crews were on alert but the spot over was contained early thismorning.
At the small township of Mitta Mitta the Bogong fire deposited embers and smokelate yesterday. The fire has remained around 4 km south of the town (and theriver).
Overnight considerable asset protection work was undertaken in conjunction withlocal residents at Harrietville, Mt Beauty and Falls Creek.
The current North-East fires have now burnt around 260,000 hectares of parks andforests.

CURRENT GOING FIRES
The ‘Pinnabar’ complex of fires (south of Corryong). In total these fires havenow burnt nearly 60,000 hectares of Victorian park and forest. This fire whichstraddles the NSW border is contiguous with a large fire in the southern sectorof the Kosciuszko National Park. Fire behaviour overnight was erratic, withspotovers hampering firefighting efforts.

The Bogong Complex of fires (Mt Feathertop, Bogong and Razorback). These havenow burnt in excess of 140,000 hectares. Extremely low humidity and increasingwind speeds late yesterday created intense and erratic fire behaviour. Acommunity alert was issued yesterday afternoon for Dartmouth, Mitta Mitta andtowns to the north. Yesterday afternoon the fire was only 500m east ofHarrietville and crews were deployed to protect the township. A spotover nearBenambra was successfully extinguished yesterday.

The fire in the Mt Buffalo National Park has now burnt in excess of 22,000hectares. Containment lines were strengthened yesterday and overnight.Backburning operations to the south of Bright occurred after midnight.

In Gippsland a fire near Mt Tubbut, 15km south of the NSW border, has burnt inexcess of 1,500 hectares, and water-bombing aircraft worked yesterday to containseveral spotovers.

WEATHER IN THE NORTH-EAST

Today: Warm to hot with smoke haze. (Wind variable to 10kph)
Friday: Fine, hot to very hot.
Weekend: Hot with northerly winds, ahead of an approaching cold front.

RESOURCES ON THE ALPINE FIRES

Around 1400 personnel from the Government agencies, around 1,400 CFA personnelfrom outside the Region (supporting local volunteer brigades), 25 aircraft, over200 specialised vehicles and 83 bulldozers.

WHAT TO DO
All residents threatened by fire are advised to activate their bushfire plansand remain alert of conditions around them.
Those choosing to leave home should leave early. It isunsafe to be on the roads as the fire approaches.
A number of emergency centres have been established and details of these are asfollows:
Rural City of Wodonga’s Municipal Emergency Relief Centres
– Wodonga Leisure Centre, Hedge Road (02 6059 1522)
– Wodonga Civic Centre, Hovell Street (02 6055 9300)
Beechworth Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Beechworth Memorial Hall
Yackandandah Municipal Emergency Relief Centre, Yackandandah Hall, High Street(Next to Indigo Shire Offices)
There are also information hotlines for people in the Towong Shire (02) 60715100 and the Alpine Shire 03 5755 0524
Those choosing to stay and defend their property areadvised of the following:
Remain alert – embers may be falling on or near your property and should beextinguished immediately.
Protect yourself from radiant heat by wearing natural fibres and long sleevedshirts, long pants, sturdy boots, and a broad brimmed hat. Do not wear syntheticclothing.
Fill sinks, baths and buckets with water to ensure water supplies are available- water pressure in the area may drop due to high demand.
After the fire front passes, remain vigilant – embers may continue to fall forseveral hours.
For further general information the followingresources are suggested:
Victoria Police Information hotline (road closures) 1800 444 343

Parks Victoria Hotline 13 19 63

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) website

DSECommunity Updates – available for Upper Murray, Ovens and Kiewa Valley,Gippsland and Bogong fires. Detailed reports, produced daily.

NSW RuralFire Service website

And Stay Tuned to your local radio station. 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

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

Hospital evacuated as bushfires loom
Posted: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 18:57 AEDT

A hospital has been evacuated at Omeo in Victoria’s east Gippsland region asbushfires close in, with Bogong fires now burning more than 140,000 hectares ofbush.
The southern firefront stretches from Harrietville north of Mt Hotham, east toBenambra.
People living south of the firefront at Anglers Rest, Shannonvale, BundaraValley, Omeo, Swifts Creek and Dargo are all waiting for the fires to head theirway.
The blaze is expected to reach Omeo on the weekend.
Omeo Hospital chief executive officer Mick Ellis says all 18 patients have beenmoved to safety as a precaution.
“We made the call that it’s probably better to do it earlier rather thanlater,” Mr Ellis said.
Resident Monica Morgan says people are working frantically to clean up theirhomes before the fire hits.
“The CFA [Country Fire Authority] are around to help, this gorgeous guycame to have a look if I’m safe,” Ms Morgan said.
Backburning operations have been taking place ahead of predicted weekendtempretures into the high 30s.

Source: ABC news

TASMANIA:

SADDLEBACK – SITUATION UPDATE

05:47:41 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire is still active with 2 applicancesin attendance.

STORMLEA – SITUATION REPORT

05:45:55 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire has been contained and is nowbeing patrolled

BEN LOMOND MARSHES – SITUATION UPDATE

05:43:38 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire is still active with 3 appliancesand a dozer working to contain within safe boundaries.

CAVESIDE – SITUATION UPDATE

05:41:54 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire has been contained and has crewspatrolling the boundaries.

WATSONS ROAD, GLEN HUON – SITUATIONUPDATE

05:40:35 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire is out and being patrolled andmonitored on a regular basis.

FLINDERS ISLAND – SITUATION UPDATE

05:36:35 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire has been contained and there havebeen no major flare ups of fires within the containment lines today. Crewsare continuing to black out and extinguish fires within the lines.

TWELVETREES – SITUATION UPDATE

05:33:56 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire is still active, crews are movingaround the Gordon River Road edge and blacking out. Machineryestablishing control lines around the fire perimeter, with wet forest stillproviding some boundary.

BROADMARSH/BRIGHTON – SITUATION UPDATE

05:29:46 PM 23 January, 2003

Burning in the Mt Dromedary, Bluff Roadarea. Fire fighters are working onan out-break on Cobbs Hill caused by a Car fire. Atotal of 20 appliances and 4 bulldozers are continuing to construct safeboundaries and patrolling.

TOTAL FIRE BAN FOR FRIDAY 24TH &SATURDAY 25TH JANUARY 2003
05:23:25 PM 23 January, 2003

The Tasmania Fire Service has declareda Total Fire Ban for tomorrow(Friday 24th & Saturday 26th January 2003) forthe whole of the state commencing at midnight tonight. ATotal Fire ban means no fires are allowed in the open. Gas and electric BBQ’sare allowed. Wood fired BBQ’s are prohibited.

UXBRIDGE – SITUATION UPDATE

05:23:07 PM 23 January, 2003

Is still active, with 8 Tasmaina FireService,6 Norske Skog appliances and 5 Bulldozers working to contain the fire.

DARLING RANGES, FLINDERS ISLAND FIRE
23 January 2003, 1600 hours

There have been no major flare upsof fires within the containment lines today.

This has enabled crews to concentrateon blacking out and extinguishing fires within the containment lines.With crewsdigging out peat fires and pushing into dense scrub and bushland, today has beena difficult day for them. Firecrews are making every effort to blacken out as many fires as possible that arestill burning in the containment lines, before Saturday’s predicted very highdanger day.

KREGORS ROAD, MIDDLETON – SITUATIONUPDATE

05:17:31 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire is now out and is being patrolledon a regular basis to ensure no flare ups occur from smouldering debris.

NEW NORFOLK – SITUATION UPDATE

05:12:06 PM 23 January, 2003

Situated in the Pegasus Drive areabetween New Norfolk town boundary and Boyer.

Five units in attendance conductingproperty protection.

BROADMARSH/BRIGHTON – SITUATION UPDATE
02:32:23 PM 23 January, 2003

Fires in the Broadmarsh areas haveburnt an estimated 4700 hectares between the two fires known as Bluff Roaddivision and Millvale division. Both of these fires are contained on the Northand Eastern sides and are being patrolled. All fire activity is on the SouthWest corner of both fires. Firefightingoperations for today include 27 firefighting units and 98 personnel, 2helicopters and 3 bulldozers. They will be establishing control lines aroundspot fires North of Mt Dromedary and Storeys Road area and protecting houses inthe Church Road and Cranes Road area. Overnightbackburning operations did not burn out a large enough area to reach controllines. It is anticipated to continue backburning operations tonight in the MtDromedary area. The backburning operations are to bring the fire edge out tocontrol lines in preparation for predicted severe fire weather expected onFriday and Saturday. One TasmaniaFire Service light tanker was burnt yesterday afternoon in the Bluff Roaddivision whilst left unattended. No firefighters were in danger. TasmaniaFire Service personnel will be visiting residents in the Boyer Road area toadvise on clearing flammable materials around their homes in preparation for thesevere fire weather expected on Friday and Saturday.

DARLING RANGES, FLINDERS ISLAND -SITUATION UPDATE
12:24:29 PM 23 January, 2003

Fire activity remained low in allsectors overnight, under the influence of low temperatures. Todaybulldozers will be used to push into areas of thick scrub to access hot spotsand extinguish. All crews will beconcentrating on blackening out and extinguishing any fires burning within thecontainment lines ahead of Saturday.

MEDIA RELEASE – VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE
11:35:59 AM 23 January, 2003

The Tasmania Fire Service is receivingmany calls from people volunteering to help fight fires. Whilstappreciating these gestures of help, the Tasmania Fire Service does not need anyvolunteers to staff their fire trucks. We have sufficient personnel trained andequipped to operate

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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