GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

25 Januar 2003


Latest satellite images:BushfiresRaging in Southeast Australia

 

Bushfires Raging in SoutheastAustralia
The weather in southeast Australia refuses to cooperate with firefightersbattling dozens of out-of-control bushfires in the Great Dividing RangeMountains in southeast New South Wales and northeast Victoria. Crews arepreparing for another long weekend. Temperatures over the Jan. 25 weekend areexpected to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), and gusty winds willcontinue to fan the flames. This true-color ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Terrasatellite on 24  January  2003, shows the detection of active firesmarked with red dots. The billowing smoke drapes the southern part of thecontinent. To south, a few fires were detected on Tasmania as well. West ofTasmania, the waters are swirling with color, which could indicate a bloom ofmarine plants called phytoplankton.
Source:NASA/ EO

 

The bushfires in southeasternAustralia continue to burn out of control, producing thick smoke. Thesenew  ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image composit,  show the smoke plume spreading thousands ofkilometers over the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 19, and then switching directions on23 January 2003. 12 Images, Updated: 23 January 2003

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  from 23  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

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

 

 

This false-color map of theworld  shows an aerosol index produced from data collected by the Total ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) on22  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 

Fireys use overnight calm to prepare
Sun, Jan 26 2003 1:41 AM AEDT

Firefighters along Australia’s eastern seaboard have used calmer conditionsovernight to prepare for another day of high temperatures and strong winds. Atotal fire ban is in place in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New SouthWales and the ACT. While cooler temperatures hit Melbourne last night, thatchange is not expected to hit north-east Victoria until tonight. Near Omeo,firefighters expect the Pinnabar and Bogong fires to join into one massiveblaze. Omeo has only limited mobile phone contact with the outside world, afterhard-line phones in the town failed late yesterday. Fires in the alpine regionare still causing concern with a number of spot fires near Mt Hotham, Beechworthand Mt Beauty. Beechworth incident controller John Haynes says strike teams areready in all threatened towns. “We’re just continuing our contingencyplanning for that worse case scenario stuff and trying to have the resources tomeet any drama that we’re going to have,” Mr Haynes said. Mr Haynes saysfirefighters can expect little respite today. “We’re still preparing forthe worst – it’s high 30s, low 40s and winds gusting to 35 [kilometres per hour]from the north, north-west,” he said. “We’re still planning for that,we’re still preparing for that and we’re working towards that.” InMelbourne, firefighters have contained several bushfires, which broke outyesterday. Train operator V-Line has launched an investigation, after claims oneof its trains may have caused several of the fires. Cars were burnt out by firesat Cranbourne, south-east of Melbourne, and Shoreham on the MorningtonPensinsula. Homes were threatened and sheds destroyed by five grass fires nearGisborne, north-west of Melbourne. V-Line general manager Geoff Arthur says thetrain operator will investigate claims sparks from a passenger train caused theblazes. “There’s obviously a number reasons as why these fires started andwe’re not sure at this stage,” Mr Arthur said. Another blaze was quicklycontained at Braeside, in Melbourne’s south. 

Source: ABC news

 

Extreme weather to intensify bushfires
Saturday, 25 January 2003. Posted 12:09 AM AEDT

Firefighters throughout Australia are preparing for another horrid weekendwith extreme weather conditions likely to intensify the bushfire emergency.
It is feared hot temperatures and gusty winds will fan the flames towards morecommunities in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and the ACT.
The bushfires were sparked more than two weeks ago by lightning strikes anddespite the valiant efforts of thousands of firefighthers, there is no end insight.
Temperatures in some areas are expected to exceed 40 degrees and it is fearedmany communities will come under threat.
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has announced the cancellation of the AustraliaDay fireworks in Sydney.
Mr Carr says with a total fire ban in force this weekend, the risk is too greatand would be disrespectful to firefighters who have been deployed throughout thestate.
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) says about 4,000 firefighters havebeen deployed to the south of the state to battle fires in the Snowy Mountains.
RFS Commissioner Phil Koperburg has described the situation as “verygrave”.

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
Sunday ,  26 January  2003 1:41 AM AEDT

In the ACT, backburning operations have created a 100-metre buffer zone aroundCanberra’s north-western suburbs. Residents are preparing for the possibility ofmore fires after more than 500 houses were destroyed and four people were killedin bushfires last weekend. The major concern is the McIntyre’s Hut fire, whichhas been contained about 10 kilometres north-west of residential areas. MikeCastle from the Emergency Services Bureau says the buffer zone will help protectsuburbs in Canberra’s north-west if there is a weather change. “This is allcontingency for the possibility of the fires up in McIntryes and beyond, if theyreally got a head of steam up and came out of containment lines,” he said.More than 1,000 emergency services workers have been deployed around Canberra todeal with any bushfire threat today. The Emergency Services Bureau says it willnot issue fire alerts for today but staff will be reviewing weather forecastsfor tomorrow.

Source: ABC news

ACT task force 
Saturday, 25 January 2003. Posted 12:09 AM AEDT

Former Sydney Olympics organising committee chief Sandy Hollway hasbeen named head of the ACT bushfire recovery task force.The task force will bein action for an initial period of six months. Meanwhile the coronialinvestigation into the Canberra bushfires has begun. ACT Coroner Maria Doogansays the parameters of the inquiry will be broad given the enormous scale of theincident and its devastating effect on the Canberra community. Firefighters inCanberra have been backburning and strengthening containment lines on theoutskirts of the city in a bid to provide a buffer for nearby residents.

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.

NSW overview
Sunday ,  26 January  2003 1:41 AM AEDT

A new fire in New South Wales is causing concern forfirefighters, with resources already stretched fighting more than 60 blazesacross the state. New South Wales is on a heightened state of bushfire alertwith a total fire ban in place until Monday night. The NSW Rural Fire Servicesays the new fire broke out at 6:30pm AEDT today in the Kanimbla Valley, aroundtwo kilometres south-west of Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains. It is burningin heavy bushland on the lower slopes of Mount Sugarloaf. RFS spokeswoman MeekaBailey, says four water-bombing aircraft and 15 tankers are battling the blaze.Ms Bailey says firefighters will work throughout the night trying to contain theBlue Mountains blaze before the arrival of poor conditions tomorrow. She sayssmoke from the blaze will affect residents of the Blue Mountains and peopledriving on the Great Western Highway. “It’s not causing any propertyconcern at this point but we will wait to see what the progress is with thisfire overnight and what the situation we are in in the morning,” Ms Baileysaid. “It may be affected by the weather tomorrow and what containmentwe’ve been able to put into it overnight.” However, the state’s south-eastis the main trouble spot, with over 100 kilometres of active fire. But despitestronger winds this afternoon, no communities have yet come under threat. TheNSW Rural Fire Service says some fires are spotting inland of Michelago, southof Queabeyan, but crews are dealing with the situation. In south Sydney, afactory and several shacks are being threatened by a blaze at Kurnell. Earliertoday the Premier, Bob Carr, was briefed on the state’s south-eastern fires, andthe conditions expected over the long weekend. He says the situation is serious.”Certainly we’re operating as if we’re a state of emergency in this area ofNew South Wales south of Canberra,” Premier Carr said. “We’ve hadextra task forces brought into this region, we’ve got the rural fire serviceeffectively in charge of every government agency – this is effectively a stateof emergency.”

Source: ABC news

Statewide Fire Update 
Saturday, 25 January 2003 1700 hours

Mild weather conditionsyesterday and this morning have assisted firefighters in establishing andconsolidating containment lines in preparation for extreme fire danger predictedfor this afternoon and tomorrow. About 2000 firefighters were working on over 60fires across the State, the majority in NSW’s southeast. Major backburning,bulldozing and aerial incendiary operations are being undertaken to preparecontainment lines, particularly on fires affecting the south east of NSW,including Kosciuszko National Park and areas surrounding and including the ACT.Extreme fire danger weather conditions predicted this weekend have 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 Thursday 23 January to midnight Monday 27January. Conditions are expected to begin to deteriorate today with climbingtemperatures. They will peak on Sunday with 43 degree heat and strongnorthwesterly winds. NSW’s southeast will be particularly vulnerable as italready has over 100km of active fire. Communities are expected to come underthreat and fire authorities are currently preparing resources for what isexpected to be a very challenging weekend.

Yarrowlumla/Queanbeyan/Yass/Cooma/Tumut/ACT
More than 360 firefighters concentrated on containment activities in allsections of the complex of fire that has burned 207,125ha from 8km east of WeeJasper in the north through to Michelago, 75km south. Active fire continues toburn in the southeast where it is progressing in a westerly direction towardsthe Monaro Highway. Firefighters have successfully held it west of the highwayand this remains a major objective over the coming days. Crews have successfullyput in backburns in several sectors of the fire last night and crews today havebeen busy blacking out and mopping up containment lines. West: Brindabella Rdand Brindabella Valley areas. 
North: In the Fairlight sector from Mullion to Ledger Trail and Doctors Flat.
South east: On dozer trail running south east to Smiths Rd and a grader trailjunction, joining backburning operations conducted by Cooma Rural Fire District.
Residents are warned to remain fire aware, particularly those in the northernareas from Wallaroo to Sutton and southern areas from Williamsdale to Colinton.Concerned residents can call 1800 227 228 for fire information.
Holding paddocks for large animals have been established at QueanbeyanRacecourse (6299 2398) and Queanbeyan Sale Yards (6294 3633).

Kosciuszko National Park
Despite relatively mild weather yesterday and this morning firefighters reportedsome considerable fire activity at most fires, but this has not caused anyimmediate threat to property. Backburning was conducted in several areas,including the Snowy Plains, the western side of Lake Jindabyne, around EucumbeneCove and along the western shore of the lake over the previous days and crewsare now working to mop up and black out these areas. Firefighting efforts ofover 380 firefighters continue to be concentrated on mopping up the backburn atTalbingo and securing the containment line at Blue Water Holes Fire Trail inaddition to containment in the Gang Gang and Black Jack Mountain areas.Residents are advised to “remain aware” and prepare their propertiesinpreparation for deteriorating fire conditions.
See Kosciuszko National Park Fire Facts Summary media release for furtherinformation.

Lake Burrinjuck, Yass Rural Fire District
Containment strategies for this fire have progressed well. It has burned10,800ha and is being fought by 70 firefighters. The fire is being controlledthrough backburning operations that include air seeding to ridge tops north ofBurrinjuck Dam. 

Sydney- Kurnell
A new fire has started this afternoon south of Sydney near Kurnell. This firewas contained at 4.30pm.

For more information(Please note this is for MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY):
For media calls only:
Statewide Duty Media Officer 02 9898 1855

 

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

Source: NSW Rural FireService 

 

.

 

VICTORIA:

Total FireBan for Victoria, 26 January 2003
Today Sun, 26 Jan 2003 has been declared a Day of Total Fire Ban in the NorthWestern, North Eastern, Central and Eastern Total Fire Ban district(s) ofVictoria.No fires may be lit or be allowed to remain alightin the open air from Sun, 26 Jan 2003 12:00 AM until Mon, 27 Jan 2003 12:00 AM.

Victoria overview
Saturday, 25 January 2003. Posted 12:09 AM AEDT

Easing wind conditions have helped fire crews battling large blazes inVictoria’s north-east. But several towns remain on high alert, ahead of a hotand windy weekend. A close watch is being kept on fires around Myrtleford,Stanley, Bright, Harrietville, Omeo and the Mount Hotham ski resort. A new firehas recently begun at Mount Saint Leonard in the high country. The Country FireAuthority’s John Tindall says there is also concern about holiday areas,particularly the surf coast, because of the long weekend. “To try andcombat any issues that might arise during this very hot weekend we are actuallyhaving a couple of community meetings in Angelsea and Lorne tomorrow,” MrTindall said. “[They will be] open to people who might be visiting the areaso that they can also be informed of the risk and what they might need to do toprotect themselves.

Source: ABC news

 

Victoria General Fires Update 25Jan 2003 18:45hrs
Summary of Fires

25/01/2003

CFA has attended a number of fires across the State today. Viewthe map

Tarcoola Lodge
CFA contained a small fire in the power plant of the Tarcoola Lodge, an agedcare facility at Shepparton. All residents were evacuated. The fire began at1.00pm and was contained by 1.30pm.

Shoreham
At Beach Reserve, Shoreham a grass and scrub fire has burnt out one car anddamaged another. The fire is now contained.

Braeside
CFA contained a grass and scrub fire at Braeside around 12.00pm today. The fireburnt out 3 hectares.

Euroa
CFA controlled a grass fire in Cemetery Lane. The fire started at 12.30pm andwas controlled at 1.16pm.

Cranbourne
A fire which started in scrub at Cranbourne damaged 10 cars in a caryard on theSouth Gippsland Highway. The cars were damaged by radiant heat from the firewhich burnt just over one acre of scrub.

Gisborne, Woodend and Macedon
There were 5 fires in the Gisborne Area. Four of the fires were small andquickly contained. The largest was in Ferrier, Station and Kilmore Roads, nearMacedon Road. A number of sheds were damaged in the fire.

House fire at Merricks North
Fire has destroyed a weatherboard house at Merricks North on the MorningtonPeninsula this morning. The fire broke out at 7.40pm this morning. Two peoplewere in the house at the time. It is now confirmed that there was one fatality.

Bogong Fires Update 25 Jan 200317:00hrs

A joint Media Release from CFA and DSE 25/01/2003
25/01/2003

Weather conditions in the high country have deterioratedthrough the day with strong winds and high temperatures
causing new spotfires and making control difficult for fire crews.

The spot fire near Mount St Bernard, south west of Hotham Village has increasedto 100 hectares and is threatening the
Wangaratta Ski Club. Potential fuel surrounding this area is being cleaned up toreduce fire intensity.

Another spot fire north of Benambra has put residents in that area on high alertfor ember attack, with CFA and DSE/DPI
crews working hard to protect property there. Crews expect to have this firecontained shortly.

Residents in the Omeo Valley, Shannonvale, Benambra, Glen Wills, Glen Valley andBundara Valley areas are on alert for ember attack.

Incident Controller Ben Rankin said that fire crews are patrolling the area nearMount Sam where the fire is expected to
break through.

‘A number of communities are coming under attack at the moment due to theincreased wind speed affecting fire behaviour,’ Mr Rankin said.

‘All those communities have been alerted and remain vigilant.’

‘We’re very confident that because of the way this fire has been developing overthe past week, it has given people quite some time to prepare and to put theirfire plans in place,’ he said.

‘The priority for today is the safety of firefighters and residents and theprotection of assets in affected areas.’

The fire is being monitored closely by strategically placed ground crews to keepresidents well informed of the fire
situation.

Beechworth Fire Update 25 Jan 2003 19:00hrs

There are currently 3 fires burning in the Beechworth Area.
25/01/2003

Overview

There are currently 3 fires burning in the Beechworth area. Working on the firestoday are 217
CFA, DSE, DPI and Parks Vic fire-fighters along with 46 fire-fighting vehiclesand 20 bulldozers.
In addition a number of aircraft are also assigned to these fires. Safetyconcerns for crews
working in these areas are from the significant number of mine shafts that dotthis once gold
mining area.

The Beechworth complex:

The Eldorado Fire (5km NW of Beechworth)

Approximately 9,338 ha in size.
A spot fire to the South West of the control line flared up in early afternoontoday 3 kms East of
Eldorado and is causing some concern. Ground crews, dozers, two helitak aircraftand one
aircrane are currently staging a direct attack on this fire. Backburning hasbegun on the lower
Southern edge to contain possible spotvers on Woolshed rd. The remainder of theedge of this fire
is being patrolled and blacked out to 60metres.

The Stanley Fire (2km South West of Beechworth)

Approximately 5,260 ha in size.

North of Stanley 3,073 ha.

Crews continued to strengthen control lines and patrolled the length of theperimeter. A spot over
occurred on the South East edge this morning, which was contained by crewsduring the day.
Areas of unburnt vegetation within the fire are flaring up and present someconcern with spotover
potential.

South of Stanley 2,185 ha.

This fire has been mostly contained. Crews are still bringing the backburn outto the line on the
SW corner. Crews continue to patrol and blackout to 60 metres on the remainingedge.

Update for Fires in the North East 25 Jan 2003 19:55hrs

Mounty Beauty and Hotham Village townships are under threat.There is no immediate threat to Bright township.
25/01/2003

The Mount Beauty township is beingthreatened by a fire that has entered the golf course. This fire ismoving slowly and CFA and DSE have considerable resources within the town.

The fire has crossed the East Kiewa river and is slowly moving towards theBogong Village.

There is no immediate threat to the Bright Township dueto favourable weather conditions.

Shannonvale and Glen Valley have been isolated due to the fire crossing theroad.

Hotham Village is being threatened by a slow movingfire.

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/

TASMANIA:

TASMANIA OVERVIEW
Sunday ,26  January 2003  Posted  1:41 AM AEDT

Tasmanian fire crews made most of easier conditions overnight after a torrid dayyesterday. The main fires are not threatening property after a cooler changeswept across Tasmania. The fire in the north-east of the state is moving towardsthe Esk Valley. Cooler temperatures have slowed the Mt Saddleback blaze but theTasmania Fire Service has still taken the precaution of warning Upper Esk andMathinna residents of the possible dangers. The three blazes on the northernoutskirts of Hobart now cover 8,000 hectares but are not a threat to property.The fires at Uxbridge and the Forestier Peninsula are under control. The fireservice has opened all  roads. However, it is warning the state will becovered overnight by a thick smoke haze from fires in Tasmania and interstate.

Source:
ABC news

TASMANIA OVERVIEW
Saturday, 25 January 2003. Posted 12:09 AM AEDT

Three bushfires north of the Tasmanian capital, Hobart, have joined together andare now heading towards New Norfolk. The blaze gained momentum yesterdayafternoon and has raced through hundreds of hectares towards Magra. Incidentcontroller Barry Hogan says firefighters will tonight concentrate on trying toprotect the dozen properties under threat from the approaching fire. “We’regoing to have to redeploy people and send them around for property protection inthat area,” Mr Hogan said. “At this stage we’re just monitoring it andgetting people assembled in the correct areas.”  About 10 kilometreswest of New Norfolk, there are fears a fire burning close to the Plenty Riverwill present a major threat today. The fire, at Uxbridge, has burnt 1,000hectares of forest. Fire crews have been helped by milder than expected weatherthis afternoon. But Forestry Tasmania’s acting duty officer, Graham Sargison,says there is concern about the fire’s proximity to the foothills of MountWellington. “With the conditions that are forecast… it is perilouslyclose and we are very concerned,” Mr Sargison said. “The temperature’spredicted to be 36 degrees, the humidity about 13 per cent and 20 to 30kilometre an hour winds from the north-west. “It is going to be a verydangerous fire day.” 

Source: ABC news

 

WIDESPREAD SMOKE HAZE
08:08:42 PM 25 January, 2003

Much of northern and southern Tasmania will experiencesignificant smoke haze overnight on Saturday and during Sunday. The smoke isfrom the large fires on the mainland as well as those in Tasmania. Peopleare asked not to report this smoke to the Fire Service Somepeople may have health problems from smoke. Asthmatics, the elderly and otherswith respiratory problems should stay inside with the doors and windows closed. Ifbreathing problems develop, please seek medical assistance.

 

SADDLEBACK PLANTATION, MATHINNA – SITUATION UPDATE
07:58:16 PM 25 January, 2003

The fire escaped earlier today and is now travelling downhilltowards the esk valley and covers about 600ha. Tommorrowfire crews will work to contain the fire. Bushfire safety advice has beendelivered to residents in Upper Esk and Mathinna. 

 

ROAD CLOSURES
07:32:20 PM 25 January, 2003

There are currently no roads, closed at this stage. Pleasebe advised that roads in all affected areas may be opened and closed as thedensity of smoke or the proximity of fire changes.

 

LAKE CRESCENT – SITUATION REPORT
07:13:37 PM 25 January, 2003

Fire is now over 900ha and fire crews are working to protectshacks in Laycock Drive. Crews will concentrate on construction control lines tocontain the fire on Sunday.

 

HYLANDS RD, MURDUNNA – SITUATION REPORT
07:10:27 PM 25 January, 2003

Fire is contained on southern flanks and work continues on theother flanks. The fire covers about 250ha

 

BROADMARSH/BRIGHTON FIRES – SITUATION UPDATE
07:07:58 PM 25 January, 2003

The three fires now cover about 8,000ha. Severalsmall escapes which occured during the day were contained. Crewswill continue to strengthen boundaries and deal with flare ups and hotspots.

 

TWELVETREES RANGE (STRATHGORDON) – SITUATION REPORT
06:59:32 PM 25 January, 2003

Fire continues to burn within existing boundaries and covers2,000ha. Heavy smoke will be produced and road closures for safety reasons arelikely. Please be aware due to smoke and heat driving inthe area is hazardous the upmost care should be taken. 

 

UXBRIDGE RD, UXBRIDGE –SITUATION REPORT
06:40:37 PM 25 January, 2003

Fire covers 2,100ha and is contained. Crews will patrol thefire and consolidate boundaries on Sunday.

 

CURRENT SMOKE SITUATION
04:16:34 PM 25 January, 2003

Athough there has not been a signifcant increase in fireactivity in the Broadmarsh area, there remains large volumes of smoke throughoutHobart and the northern suburbs. Residents are warned thatthe prevailing winds will bring significant amounts of smoke into Hobart andnearby areas. People are asked not to report this smoke to the Fire Service asit comes from existing fires. Some people may have healthproblems from smoke. Asthmatics, the elderly and others with respiratoryproblems should stay inside with the doors and windows closed. Ifbreathing problems develop, please seek medical assistance. 1:25pm- The smoke trail from Broadmarsh has changed direction and large areas of theeastern shore will now be experiencing increased smoke cover. 4:15pm- Tasmania Police ask drivers travelling along the Midlands Highway, Bridgewaterover the Bridgewater Bridge and along the Lyell Highway to New Norfolk not tostop on the Bridge or the roadway  to watch fires. Traffic delays areoccurring.  Current change in wind direction hascaused large amounts of smoke to be blown over Lachlan, Molesworth, Collinsvaleand Collins Cap areas. Residents should not be alarmed as this smoke is comingfrom a fire in the Upper Derwent Valley.

 

MT DROMEDARY – GRANTON – SORELL CREEK
03:40:31 PM 25 January, 2003

Residents on the Lyell Highway between Granton and SorellCreek need to be aware of the possibility of burning embers from the MtDromedary area being blown onto their properties. Swift extinguishment (eg witha wet towel/garden hose) will ensure that these do not create any furtherhazards. 1:20pm – Aerial water bombing of a pineplantation in the vicinity of Mt Dromedary will be commencing shortly. The smoketrail has changed direction and large areas of the eastern shore will now beexperiencing increased smoke cover. 3:30pm – Aerial waterbombing of hot spots in vicinity of Church Road has been successful ensuringthat properties in the area are currently not threatened by fire. Dueto the hot and smokey conditions it is advised that vehicle traffic on ChurchRoad be kept to residents and emergency services vehicles. Vehiclesneeding to use Church Road should exercise extreme caution.

 

BACK RIVER RD, MAGRA – SITUATION REPORT
03:27:30 PM 25 January, 2003

There has been a slight increase in fire activity in the BlackHills / Back River / Braslin’s Road area. At the present time no property isthreatened. Residents are strongly encouraged to remainwith their homes. Details of steps you can take in this situation can be foundunder Fire Safety Information on the TFS website. Peoplewill be given ample time to evacuate should this become necessary. 1521- The wind direction has changed to a south westerly direction, this has slowedfire activity on the western front of the fire. This will allow fire crews toconstruct containment lines between Black Hills Road and Bluff Road.

 

UPPER ESK AREA – ADVICE TO ROAD USERS
02:40:10 PM 25 January, 2003

Tasmania Fire Service request that that road users avoid thefollowing areas due to a large amount of smoke in the area. These conditions maymake driving hazardous. Upper Blessington Road, MathinnaPlains Road and Upper Esk Road after Mathinna. 

 

EVACUATION INFORMATION
02:07:44 PM 25 January, 2003

Evacuations will only be initiated by Emergency ServicesPersonnel in uniform. Under no circumstances do residentsevacuate under instruction by non-emergency services personnel.

 

CARE OF PETS/ANIMALS
01:01:21 PM 25 January, 2003

If pets are kept with owners, they are advised to bring theminside and in a quiet room with lots of water until the danger passes. Do notleave them in vehicles. Cats/dogs: The Canine DefenceLeague can provide safe haven for up to 7 cats and 30 dogs at the Hobart Dog’sHome this weekend. Ph: 6243 5177 (10-5:30 Fri/Sat/Sun) Horses: can be taken tothe Glenorchy Royal Showgrounds where they already have 35 horses. Other pets oranimals: Giselle Fisher or Kay McKennen from the RSPCA will be on-call thisweekend on 0418 123 550 for any emergency support or information regarding otherpets or animals.

 

NELSON BAY, ARTHUR RIVER – SITUATION REPORT
12:36:04 PM 25 January, 2003

This fire is now contained and is being patrolled.

 

WATER USE ON DAYS OF TOTAL FIRE BAN
11:05:09 AM 25 January, 2003

On days of Total Fire Ban declared by the Tasmania FireService any outdoor water use is prohibited except by businesses where water useis required under employee, public and livestock safety, health andenvironmental regulations, or an emergency has occurred threatening humansafety. Hand held hoses may be used during this period, subject to discretion byindividual councils. For further information, contact yourlocal Council.

 

DARLING RANGES, FLINDERS ISLAND – SITUATION UPDATE
09:43:20 AM 25 January, 2003

Situation is as previously. Minor flare-ups overnight werecontained by night shift crews. Today crews will be brought on duty in stages tofive full strength this afternoon. It is expected thatthis fire will remain contained today.

 

ARTHUR RIVER AREA – SITUATION REPORT
08:38:23 AM 25 January, 2003

Parks and Wildlife have two fires in the Arthur River area –one in Nelson Bay and the other at Tiger Flat. There is noTFS involvement at this point. 

 

STORMLEA RD, STORMLEA – SITUATION REPORT
08:35:52 AM 25 January, 2003

Flare up of fire reported at 1615 hours yesterday afternoon.Crews from Koonya, Nubeena and Port Arthur attended. Fire has now beenextinguished. 

 

Source: Tasmania Fire Service (TFS)

QUEENSLAND

Overview:
Saturday, 25 January 2003. Posted 12:09 AM AEDT

One hundred firefighters are fighting blazes south of Bundaberg in southernQueensland, as strong winds force two fires across containment lines. Eighteenfire units and 30 firefighters, who were controlling the situation yesterday,have now been joined by units from throughout the Wide Bay area, backed up bypolice and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers. Fire incident controllerBrian Dale says a new fire to the south of the small community of Goodwood willdouble the demand on firefighters. “It’s not contained at this point and infact we’re still establishing resources here,” Mr Dale said. “Afterthe crew get back from the flying of that fire we’ll have a better understandingof where that fire is and what action needs to be taken on it.” 

Source:  ABC news

Currentweather situation, forecasts, fireweather http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/tas/ Actual fire Situation Tasmania Actual Fire Situation Maps, Tasmania More Information on Australian Fires IFFN country notes Further Information Australian and New Zealand links. Background information Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics

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