GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

28 Januar 2003


Latest satellite images:  

Fragmentsof the BIRD 3.8µm channel image showing the Canberra region on 26 January 2003at 00:50 GMT. Source: German Aerospace Center. BIRD website: http://spacesensors.dlr.de/SE/bird/index.html

 

 

BushfiresRaging in Southeast Australia
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 burning out of controlthroughout southeastern Australia  in this ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image  from 24  January 2003, captured by theTerra satellite. 

Source: OSEI/NOAA

 

Heat signatures (red), burn scars(charcoal), and smoke (light blue haze) are visible from fires burning inTasmania, Australia, in this  ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image  from 24  January 2003, captured by theTerra satellite. On Thurday nine blazes were still burning out of control.

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 

Fire threat in WA, easternconditions ease
Monday, 27  January 2003   6:05 PM AEDT

Western Australian firefightersbattling a blaze north of Perth say they hope to have the fire under control bytonight. More than 100 firefighters are battling the blaze near Lancelin whichclaimed the life of one firefighter yesterday during a traffic collision at thesite. Fire services spokesman Ray Buchan says residents at nearby OceanFarm Estate have been put under alert, although no homes are currently undertheat. He says much still depends on wind strength and direction.”We’re in the lap of the gods with the winds, if they manage to changedirection on us again and the wind speed picks up, with the temperatures up heretoday it may cause an outbreak of fire,” he said. “The way it’slooking, [by] early evening we should have it pretty well under control.”Power is out in the area as more than 100 power poles have been destroyed. 
Firefighters battling blazes across south-eastern mainland Australia are usingeasing weather conditions to prepare for predicted flare-ups later this week.Victorian firefighters are making the most of the cooler conditions, assessingdamage and maintaining control lines. The brief reprieve comes after a weekendin which 15 houses were destroyed by fire near Omeo, in the north-east of thestate. However, there are still some concerns around Wandiligong, where spotfires continue to frustrate firefighters. Tony Pritchard, from Castlemaine, hasbeen fighting fires in the Stanley area. “Some are only doing 12-hourshifts, some are doing 16, 17-hour shifts, so in general it’s not too bad, aslong as you sleep when you’ve got a chance to sleep,” he said. That is whatmany have been doing today. Motels and halls across the north-east are full ofweary firefighters getting some rest. 

Source: ABC news

Weather to give fires new puff mid-week
Monday, 27  January 2003   11:05 PM AEDT

Firefighters battling blazes in south-eastern Australia are bracing fordeteriorating weather by the middle of the week. Conditions in New South Walesand Victoria eased overnight, offering firefighters some respite. Firefightersin New South Wales are hoping the cooler conditions will allow them to containdozens of bushfires burning in the state’s south. The Snowy Mountains remainsthe main trouble spot.  Flames have come close to some settlements but noproperties have been damaged.  Residents of Wee Jasper, north-west ofCanberra, remain on high alert due to a fire burning in the Burrinjuck Dam area.In Victoria, lighter winds and rising humidity offered firefighters battlingblazes in the state’s north-east a brief reprieve after a horror weekend. Morethan 15 houses were destroyed by fire near Omeo yesterday, while areas nearBright, Wandilagong, Mitta Mitta and Dartmouth remain under the most seriousthreat. Authorities have been unable to confirm if the Pinnabar and Bogong fireshave joined up, though they say it is inevitable. 

Source: ABC news

A.C.T.

Canberra under control
Monday, 27  January 2003   11:05 PM AEDT

In the ACT all fires are burning withincontainment lines and emergency authorities say the immediate bushfire threat isover.
Source: ABC news

Canberra threat eases
Sunday, 26 January 2003   9:46 PM AEDT

The fire threat to the national capital, Canberra, has eased significantly,though fires continue to burn north-west of the city. The New South Wales RuralFire Service has closed the Mountain Creek Road near Burrinjuck Dam, from YassRoad to Fairleight Junction, to construct fire containment lines. The secondfire at Macintyre’s Hut, is closest to Canberra at around 10 kilometres from theurban edge. However, it is mostly under control and poses no immediate threat.

Source: ABC news

NEW SOUTH WALES:

NSW overview
Monday, 27 January 2003   9:46 PM AEDT

In New South Wales, firefighters are working to contain fires burning in theSnowy Mountains. Fires have come close to property but there is no immediatethreat. The national parks service is trying to establish how many historic hutsin the region were destroyed by yesterday’s bad fire conditions. The century-oldhuts represent the area’s European history and are now used by hikers andskiers. Service spokesman John Ross says he knows of eight that have been lost.”The huts mean a lot to people, they’re a very important icon of thecultural herigave of the area. We don’t have exact figures on how many have beendamaged or destroyed. We know a lot have been protected.”

Source: ABC news

Total Fire Ban Monday, January 27,2003 until MIDNIGHT Tuesday, 28 January 2002.

The Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service has declared a Total Fire Ban inthe following Weather Forecast District:
North West Plains
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,Monday, January 27, 2003 until MIDNIGHT Tuesday, 28 January 2002.
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 moreinformation (Please note this is for MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY):
Media Only (02) 98981855

Statewide Fire Update for  Monday, 27 January 2003, 1400 hours

About 1500 firefighterswere working on over 60 fires across the State, the majority in NSW’s southeast.

Major backburning, bulldozing and aerial incendiary operations will continuetoday to consolidate containment lines, particularly on fires affecting thesouth east of NSW, including Kosciuszko National Park and areas surrounding andincluding the ACT.

Extreme fire danger weather conditions predicted for the Australia Day longweekend caused the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service to declare aspecial four day, Statewide Total Fire Ban.

These extreme conditions eventuated yesterday and caused a significant increasein fire activity especially in southern NSW. Weather conditions have eased todayand will assist firefighters in protecting property, consolidating containmentlines and preparing for adverse conditions later this week.

Sutherland
Firefighters have successfully contained a fire in the Royal National Park whichbegan at 1am this morning.

It burned 25ha on the eastern side of Sir Bertram Stephens Drive at Curramoors.

Crews will continue to mop up and patrol with the assistance of helicopters thisafternoon.

Nine RFS tankers were supported by waterbombing aircraft today.

Yarrowlumla/ACT
Light rain is currently impacting upon some of the Yarrowlumla Complexfireground. The rain is patchy and is slightly hampering backburning activities.

The fireground spreads over 227,935ha from northeast of Wee Jasper in the Northto Michelago 75 km further south and includes areas of the ACT and NSW.

The fire is burning in the Brindabella National Park in the north, KosciuszkoNational Park in the southwest and Namadgi National Park in the centre andsouth.

Fire is contained on the western side of Canberra, north from Williamsdale tothe suburbs of Holt, and west to Fairlight in the north.

Fire has breaking containment line in many areas and crews are working toprotect property in the Yaouk Valley and Lake Burinjuck.

The fires are believed to have been caused by lightning strikes on January 8,2003, and spread under the influence of extreme fire weather last week.

Over 400 personnel are working on the fire in the Yarrowlumla, Queanbeyan, Yassand Cooma Rural Fire Districts, with out-of-area crews from around NSWcontinuing to assist local brigades.

Property protection and construction of containment lines are the continuingpriorities of fire crews today.

Weather conditions have moderated today. Temperatures are expected to reach thelate twenties and northwesterly winds are expected to gust up to 25km/h in someareas.

Yarrowlumla (Northern, South East, Western, Burra and Sutton Divisions
Mild conditions today will assist firefighters in consolidating containmentlines and putting in backburns in several sectors of the Yarrowlumla Complex.Containment and property protection is the priority of firefighters today inpreparation for deteriorating conditions later this week.

Rapid response property protection teams have been deployed to Yarrowlumla Shireand to the ACT. They will be based at Sutton and the South East Divisions.

Northern: patrol and mop up activities will continue at the Rams Flat backburn,Sawyers Gully and Fairlight Divisions and to the west of Mountain Creek Road.The spotover that occurred at Mullion Gap is conained but will require mop upand patrol measures today.

Western: crews will continue to patrol, mop up, and protect property along theBrindabella Road and in the Brindabella Valley. The crews areworking to containthe fire west of Brindabella Road and the Goodradigbee River. A backburn wasestablished north ofBrindabella Road to reduce the risk of the fire spreadingfurther into the Bondo State Forest.

South East: The fire in this area is well within containment lines and crewstoday will focus on mopping up the containment lines west of the MurrumbidgeeRiver.

South (Cooma):
Cooma (southern section of Yarrowlumla Complex)

The fire threat to residents of the Yaouk Valley eased today as mild conditionsprevailed. The fire activity in the valley and surrounding ranges is extremelyquiet at the moment and it is expected to remain quiet with favourable weatherconditions predicted.
Firefighters will use today to complete backburning operations, particularly inthe Sams Creek and Naas Creek areas. They will consolidate a backburn at YaoukCreek to contain the fire as it trickles down the Scabby Range. Aerialincendiary work will be conducted in the Yaouk sector today.

Property protection will continue for residents on the western side of thevalley, which may be affected by fire coming from Mount Morgan and Half MoonMountain.

Residents will notice smoke from backburning activities today.

Light rain this morning slowed backburning activity and crews will concentrateon this today ahead of deteriorating weather expected on Wednesday. Work onfiretrails will continue.

The eastern division is particularly quiet today

ACT Managed
The ACT manages the section of fire from Guises Creek in the south to KaveneysRoad in the north (Belconnen Division). Yesterday containment lines werepatrolled and property protection was undertaken in the north around Hall,surrounding NSW and Wallaroo areas and this will continue today. Additionalcontainment lines to the northwest of Canberra have also been established. Crewswill be consolidating these containment lines today and carryout propertyprotection if required.

Western – Tumut
Tumut Fire Control is managing the Blue Water Holes Division and part of theYarrowlumla S44 Western Division. Containment lines and property protectionmeasure have been established in the Yaouk area yesterday and this will becontinued today. This section of the fire is contained to the west by Blue Waterholes and Murrumbidgee River Fire Trails, and Boundary, Snow Gum and Long PlainRoads.

Yass
The Childowla fire burning near Lake Burinjuck has crossed the dam wallyesterday and entered the Black Andrew Recreation area. Residents have beenadvised to increase their property preparation activities. Wee Jasper was notevacuated and there is no immediate threat to the area. A backburn along theFollie Trail will be conducted today.
Wee Jasper communities will notice smoke from backburns being conducted 5kmsnorth of the town and aerial seeding taking place on ridges in the Doctors Flatarea to the south east.

Residents to remain FireWise 
Residents are reminded to adhere to the four-day, Statewide, Total Fire Ban thatis in force until midnight today, Monday 27 January 2003 and to prepare theirproperties for deteriorating conditions this afternoon.

Kosciuszko National Park
During severe weather conditions yesterdy, fire fighters made very effort toachieve their primary objective – property protection. Fire control centreshave not reported property loss at this stage.

Yesterday fire fighters chased and rounded up a large number of spot firesignited by flying embers in advance of the main fire fronts. Spot fires tookhold near Guthega, Thredbo River, Ingebyra, Eucumbene Cove, Mt Cobrabald,Braemar Bay, Tin Mine and to the east side of Kosciuszko Road.

Spot fires in the high temperatures and strong, variable winds promptedauthorities to call for residents along the Alpine Way and the Barry Way southof and including the Gullies Road, and Kosciuszko Road (beyond the parkboundary) to evacuate for their own safety. Eucumbene Cove was also evacuatedbecause of a fire approaching from the south. These residents have been offeredaccommodation in adjacent towns, however some have chosen to stay with theirproperties.

Milder conditions today have seen a decrease in fire activity in many areas ofthe Kosciuszko National Park and crews will be focussing on property protectionand containment strategies.

Kanimbla Valley
Four fires started south of the Great Western Highway between Little Hartley andMt Victoria at around 6:30pm on Saturday 25 January.

The fires total about 40ha in size and are contained and are being patrolled.

The fires do not currently pose any threat to property and currently, the firewill not affect traffic on the Great Western Highway.

Blackheath and surrounding areas should remain on alert and will be advisedimmediately by local radio should there be any change in the situation.

Gosford
Firefighters are patrolling Myron Brook fire which caused damage to signallinginfrastructure caused the closure of the northern railway line last night. Thenorthern railway line is now open.

The fire began on January 18 and has burned 4000ha.

Sydney Basin
Two small fires that were going near Middle Dural yesterday have been containedand are causing no threat to property.

For moreinformation (Please note this is for MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY):Media Only (02) 98981855

Websites: www.npws.nsw.gov.au    or      www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

Weather: 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

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

Source: NSW Rural FireService 

 

.

VICTORIA:

Statewide Update 27th Jan 7am
Fire crews continue to work hard over Australia Day holiday – A jointrelease from DSE and CFA

CURRENT SUMMARY
Difficult fire behaviour was experienced across northern and southern sectionsof the three Alpine fires yesterday, particularly to the north around MittaMitta, Dartmouth, Mt Beauty and the Nariel Valley and to the south aroundBenambra, Cobungra and Omeo around the south of Mt Buffalo (Wandilagong. Manylocal communities were put on high alert in these areas.
A new fire begun in a pine plantation off Flat Rock Road, three kilometresoutside Beechworth late last night. Hard work by fire crews saw this firecontained early this morning. Two fires near Beechworth that started a week agohave burnt a combined area of about 14, 000 hectares including significant areasof private property.
The CFA have confirmed that three houses have been lost north of Benambra, sixhouses have been lost near Cobungra and some sheds and stock losses haveoccurred around Benambra, Omeo, Cobungra and Jubilee Bridge.
Four houses at Bogong Village, including the Commissioners Lodge as wellsurrounding buildings were all burnt yesterday as a result of the intense firebehaviour.
Last night a further 20 New Zealand Alpine fire specialists arrived in Melbourneto assist in fire suppression efforts.
The current North-East fires have now burnt more than 383, 000 hectares of parksand forests. The extent of these fires will continue to be appraised thismorning. In the absence of rain, this series of fires is a campaign that may goon for many weeks. It is an unprecedented in recent history – a one in 100-yearevent.
With the Australia Day long-weekend and high fire risk, people are advised notto visit parks or forests in the North East of the State. If you are planning tovisit an alternative park please call Parks Victoria Hotline on 13 19 63.

CURRENT GOING FIRES
The ‘Pinnibar’ complex of fires (south of Corryong) has now burnt over 54, 000hectares of Victorian park and forest. The fire is still burning intensely anderratic fire behaviour overnight saw spotting in some areas, including two spotsinto the Wabba Wilderness. Asset protection works continued last night. Asomewhat larger adjacent area has been burnt on the NSW side of the border inthe Kosciuszko National Park. It has been reported that one of the NSWbreakaway’s has crossed into Victoria south of the Tom Groggin Station.
The Bogong Complex of fires (Mt Feathertop, Bogong and Razorback) has crossedthe Mitta River and is spotting vigorously in the northern boundary nearDartmouth golf course. Residents were advised to implement their fire preventionplans. These have burnt nearly 269, 000 hectares of park and forest. The northeast section is anticipated to join the Pinnibar fire soon. The fire backed downthe hill towards Harrietville during the night. Dozer works continued last nightin and around the township.
The fire in the Mt Buffalo National Park has burnt in excess of 35, 000hectares. The Army yesterday assisted in the construction and consolidation ofcontrol lines around Bright. This fire burnt down to the Buffalo Lake lateyesterday and there was increased fire behaviour overnight. Fire spottingoccurred near Wandiligong and residents were advised to implement their actionplans. Asset protection will be the focus for firefighters today.

WEATHER IN THE NORTH-EAST
Today: Generally mild to warm with moderate S/SW winds. Fire danger is veryhigh.
Tuesday: Warm to hot. Winds easing to the north east during the day
Wednesday: Hot with northerly winds freshening ahead of a late south westchange.

RESOURCES ON THE ALPINE FIRES
Around 1700 personnel from the Government agencies, around 1,500 CFA personnelfrom outside the Region (supporting local volunteer brigades), 114 Armypersonnel, 13 New Zealand alpine fire specialists, 2 personnel from both NSWRural Fire Service and the QLD Rural Fire Service, 1 NSW State Forests, 1 USA,25 aircraft, over 200 specialised vehicles and 83 bulldozers.
Major strategies and tactics continue to be reviewed. Aircraft-mounted infra-redmapping flights were restricted due to cloud overnight, but are expected to becarried out after 0700 today.

AGENCIES INVOLVED
The Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of PrimaryIndustries, Parks Victoria, the Country Fire Authority, local plantation companybrigades, forest industry crews and equipment, Victoria Police, Red Cross, StJohn Ambulance, the Army Reserve, State Emergency Service, local municipalities,New Zealand fire and conservation agencies, NSW Rural Fire Service, QLD RuralFire Service and NSW State Forests.

THREATS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY AND ROAD CLOSURES
For information on significant fires on private land in rural Victoria. Pleasecall the CFA on 13 15 99.
For information regarding public road closures and threats to private property,please call the Victoria Police Emergency Information Line on 1 800 444 343.
For information regarding fires in the Gippsland region, please phone theTraralgon Information Line on 1800 668 066.

COMMUNITY INFORMATION
During the last week, a number of community meetings have been held. More than3,000 people have now attended these. In the last 24 hours meetings have beenheld at Tallangatta, Corryong, Nowa Nowa and Gelantipy (and at Angelsea and atLorne in the Otways). The meetings are designed to assist local residents andvisitors to the area with the current fire situation, and to put in placeon-going community networks. Further community meetings will occur as necessary.
Liaison between local shires/DSE/DPI/CFA/PV and Victoria Police continues on aregular basis, as does liaison with NSW fire agencies. Local Community Updatescontinue to be circulated on a regular basis.
The DSE website (www.nre.vic.gov.au)is being regularly updated with fire information, including communitynewsletters.


General Fires Update 27 Jan 17:30hrs
Community Meetings, Road Closures and Safety Messages for North Eastresidents

Community meetings:
Tuesday 28 January: Briagolong Recreation Reserve, 7.00pm
Wednesday 29 January: Fernbank Hall, 7.00pm
Thursday 30 January: Goongerah hall, 11.00am
Thursday 30 January: Orbost Football Ground, 4.00pm
Friday 31 January: Old School Club Terrace, 10.00am
Friday 31 January: Newmerella Recreation Reserve, 7.00pm

Road closures:
Omeo Highway north of Bruthen is closed to all vehicles (except emergencyvehicles and local traffic)
Omeo Highway between Omeo and Mitta Mitta
Great Alpine Road north of Omeo
Benambra-Corryong road, between Omeo and Corryong
Benambra Road between Uplands and Colac Colac
Benambra-Suggan Buggan Road (Limestone-Black Mountain Road)
Bogong High Plains Road between Falls Creek and Omeo Highway.
Dargo High Plains Road between Dargo & Mt Hotham
No public access to Bogong High Plains, Bogong Village, Mount Hotham Village andFalls Creek.

Further information on road closures can be obtained from Victoria PoliceInformation Hotline on 1800 444 343.

How will it affect you?
As the firefront passes, communities are left with the mopping up operations andassessing any damage. There have been significant stock injuries and lossesafter yesterday’s fire. Residents are urged to call the Gippsland Community FireInformation line on 1800 668 066 to report their losses and to get help with thecare or humane destruction of injured stock. DPI Animal Health Officers will beavailable to assist with these tasks.

For residents in the Omeo and Benambra areas, the Omeo Oval is your designatedrefuge area. For residents in the Swifts Creek and Cassilis areas, the SwiftsCreek Secondary College is your designated refuge area and for Ensay residents,the Ensay Hall.

If you leave your home or town you are requested to inform the Australian RedCross staff at your local refuge area, who are keeping track of all movementsduring the fires for safety reasons.

If you have already registered but you then change your plans it is important toinform the Red Cross. Also, if you leave your vehicle at a staging area theyshould be informed.

There is colour and odour in the water supply in Omeo. East Gippsland Wateradvises that it has been tested and is safe to drink. There will be animprovement in the water today.

What should I do?
Residents in affected areas are warned to be alert, enact their bushfire plansand to keep close watch for fire threat in their area. Residents are alsoreminded to be on the lookout for falling embers and take all measures toextinguish them as soon as they land.  If there is a fire in your area,have a bag of protective clothing set aside in case you need to be outside todefend your home.  Appropriate clothing would include natural fibre longsleeved shirt and pants, sturdy boots, wide-brimmed hats and gloves (no thongs,singlets or rubber-soled shoes). Keep drinking lots of water even if you aren’tthirsty. CFA encourage families to think about what they would do if a firethreatens their home so they can make an informed choice about staying andactively defending their property or leave early. Leaving early should occurbefore 10am on a high-risk fire day or in a fire situation. Leaving when you seethe flames is too late. If you choose to stay ensure all family members knowyour plan and what to do.  Close all windows and doors and use wet towelsto block gaps between doors and floors. Hose down gardens and the house. Blockdownpipes and fill gutters with water. Fill buckets and have a ladder ready tolook in the manhole and to remove embers from high places. You should shelterinside from the radiant heat while the fire front passes.  Once you areable to get outside, patrol the perimeter of your house and put out spot firesand burning embers. Ensure you return inside and into the roof to check forfires. Keep cool, stay safe.

Map of North East fires 27th Jan 0900
Below is a link to a map of the current fires situation in the NorthEast of Victoria. Note that the grey areas reflect previously burnt areas (priorto yesterday) and that the red areas reflect yesterday’s activity. Viewthe map (215kb jpeg – may take a moment or two)

Fire Status Update 27th Jan 12pm
For Mt. Beauty, Corryong, Ovens, Buffalo and Beechworth areas

Mt Beauty IMT – Bogong West:
Tawonga Gap – fire contained
Concentrating on Mt Beauty area today.
Assessment of whether it is safe for residents to return to their propertiestoday.
Power to Bogong Village and Falls Creek is cut because of damage to poles. TXUinvolved
Assessment of where to burn on the West side of the Ovens River nearHarrietville is being made.
Mitta Mitta – asset protection.

Corryong IMT – Pinnabar:
All resources to Nariel Valley for asset protection.
Planning commencing on West control line to link with Cravensville fire takinginto account spot over the Mitta River.
Visibility is poor this morning.

Ovens IMT – Buffalo:
Expecting a quieter day today.

Beechworth IMT – Eldorado & Stanley:
Situation looking reasonable this morning.


Update on Great Alpine Rd Jan 27th 11am

Cobungra:
All residents and travellers in the area are advised that the Great Alpine Roadnorth of Omeo is not generally open to the public. For further information aboutroad closures phone the Victoria Police Information line on 1800 444 343

Status of Major fires 27th Jan 11am
An overview of current situation  27/01/2003

Beechworth Complex:
A new fire started in some pine slash at about 2300hrs last night approximately3 km west of Beechworth. Strike Teams were deployed to attack the fire andattended the Newtown Tennis Club to provide asset protection. The fire waslisted as contained to just over one hectare by midnight and some crews werethen redeployed to other fires. Police are investigating the cause.

Incident Control Centre: Established at Beechworth
Lead agency: CFA

Eldorado Fire:
Status: not yet under control
Spotting in South West corner -working to contain
Size: 8,500 hectares (unchanged)

Stanley Fires:
Status: contained (Changed)
Size: 5,280 hectares (unchanged)

A new fire started in some pine slash at about 2300hrs last night approximately3 km west of Beechworth. Strike Teams were deployed to attack the fire andattended the Newtown Tennis Club to provide asset protection. The fire waslisted as contained to just over one hectare by midnight and some crews werethen redeployed to other fires. Police are investigating the cause.

Buffalo Complex:
Buffalo Complex Incident Control Centre: Ovens
Lead agency: Department of Sustainability and Environment
Status: fire is not yet under control
Size: now covers 35,000 hectares (changed).

Wandingalong:
Fire moved down from Demon Ridge and threatened to drop into pine plantation.Fire is currently burning south of Bright with no immediate threat to eithertown.

Pinnabar Complex:
Incident Control Centre: Established at Corryong.
Lead agency: Department of Sustainability and Environment
Status: not yet under control
Size: 54,500 hectares (unchanged)

Nariel Valley:
Fire started moving along the Nariel Valley and the extent will be assessed thismorning. The high priority will be to continue protecting private assets in thearea. Fire is active in the southern end of Wabba Wilderness and thePinnabar/Grassy Knob area.

Bogong West Complex:
Western Division of the Bogong fires (includes Mt Feathertop).
Incident Control Centre: Mt Beauty
Lead agency: Department of Sustainability and Environment
Status: fire is not yet under control
Size: now covers 185,000 hectares (unchanged)

Mt Beauty:
Fire flared under influence of freshening winds at Big Hill and threatenedassets near the Mt Beauty Golf Course. Fire has since died down and posing noimmediate threat although still some cause for concern. Damage assessment willbe carried out at first light and back burning operations will be undertaken

Mitta Mitta:
CFA crews confirmed that fire did not enter settlement but was burning to theeast and north. Strike teams are currently placed within Mitta Mitta andDartmouth.

Dartmouth:
No losses, even though fire went right through the town.

Bogong East Complex:
Eastern Division of the Bogong fires.
Incident Control Centre: Swifts Creek
Lead agency: Department of Sustainability and Environment
Status: fire is not yet under control
Size: now covers 84,500 hectares (unchanged)

This fire also flared up and moved north to the Mitta Mitta River. An assessmentwill be done this morning.

Swifts Creek/Omeo/Benambra:
General light drizzle in area has dampened fire behaviour. No reports of assetloss. There may be further threats to the Cobungra area.

Hotham:
15 hectare spot fire at Hotham airport.
Asset protection maintained at Hotham

Ensay:
Grader constructing control lines around assets

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:

COOLER  CONDITIONS  CONTINUE  TO  HELP  FIREFIGHTERS
Monday, 27  January 2003   6:05 PM AEDT

A thick cloud of smoke continues to cover Hobart’s northern outskirts and isspreading over the south-east of the state. Firefighters are conducting a numberof backburning operations including along Pegasus Road near Magra. The fireservice has asked people not to report the smoke. The Magra fire is one of threeblazes in the area which has now burnt out 12,000 hectares. The fire servicesays there is still a large amount of unburnt fuel within containment lines.There are no road closures at the moment. Elsewhere the cooler conditionscontinue to help firefighters build and secure containment lines.

Source: ABC news

TASMANIAN FIRES CONTAINED
Sunday, 26 January 2003   9:46 PM AEDT

The Tasmania Fire Service says most of the fires in the state are eithercontained or soon will be. The service is praising the efforts of residents, whohave helped defend their homes from fire. However, there is concern some peopleare still not prepared despite the warnings. After predictions of a horror dayyesterday, a cool, moist change in the weather has made things a little easier.Ten major fires continue to burn but the fire service says the better conditionshave helped containment efforts. No homes have been lost, and firefighters arepraising residents for clearing their homes of fire hazards. But chief fireofficer John Gledhill says there is a minority of homeowners in high risk areas,who are not following fire safety advice. “Those are the places that causeus grief when we have a fire approach and that’s where we’ve got to put all theresources,” Mr Gledhill said. “I guess it’s ironic that the people whohaven’t helped us are the ones that we’ve got to help the most.” MrGledhill says home and property owners need to remain vigilant. 

Source: ABC news

BROADMARSH / BRIGHTON / MAGRA FIRES SITUATION UPDATE
03:27:08 PM 27 January, 2003

SMOKE OVER HOBART
Tasmania Fire Service advises the public that a large smoke plume is coming frombackburns taking place at the Broadmarsh Fire. This plume will be visible frommost places in south east Tasmania today and overnight. People in the GreaterHobart area should not be alarmed and are asked not to report this smoke to theFire Service. The fire is now some 12000 hectares in size and there aresignificant areas of dangerous unburnt fuel within the containment lines. Thesmoke is a result of the extensive control efforts being made by fire crews tocontain this fire and secure the boundaries.

CURRENT ROAD CLOSURES:
11:29:56 AM 27 January, 2003
There are no roads currently closed due to fire fighting operations

STATEWIDE SITUATION REPORT
07:20:08 PM 26 January, 2003

The moderating weather conditions will allow crews to secure fires withincurrent boundaries. Crews on all fires are continuing their efforts to controlgoing fires and are patrolling fires that are already contained. Back burningand blackening out will continue to generate significant amounts of smoke.

 

BROADMARSH/BRIGHTON FIRES – SITUATION UPDATE
07:45:46 PM 26 January, 2003

The Tasmania Fire Service have commenced backburning 1600 Hours – (Westernside of the Broadmarsh fire) Tanina Bluff and BedChambers Hill and Davis Hillareas. There will be a considerable amount of smoke in the area.

Back burning areas: 

Tanina Bluff

Between Storey Road and Church Road

Houses south of Cranes Road

Consolidation of control lines occurred overnight. Cooler conditions andsoutherly winds will make this morning ideal for proactive fire fightingoperations. Back burning and aerial incendiary bombing should enable designatedareas to be burnt. Fire has so far burnt 11,500 hectares.

 

STORMLEA RD, STORMLEA – SITUATION REPORT
06:52:12 PM 26 January, 2003

Patrolling and monitoring of the area continues on a regular basis. There hasbeen no new fire activity reported today.

 

SAWPIT HILL ROAD, BLESSINGTON – SITUATION REPORT

06:44:26 PM 26 January, 2003

The fire continues to smoulder. Patrols are continuing in thearea. There is no new reports of fire activity.

 

DARLING RANGES, FLINDERS ISLAND – SITUATION UPDATE
06:37:04 PM 26 January, 2003

Cooler temperatures and favourable weather conditions haveallowed fire crews to keep the fire within constructed fire breaks and coolexisting hot spots. Fire activity was minimal with flare ups in only localisedareas. The fire is being contained within the constructed boundaries and posesno threat at this time. With favourable weather conditions continuing tomorrow,mopping up operations with the outlook to scale down by Tuesday, howevermonitoring will continue throughout the week

 

TWELVETREES RANGE (STRATHGORDON) – SITUATION REPORT
06:15:44 PM 26 January, 2003

The spread of the fire has been stopped. Over the next twodays, favourable weather conditions will allow crews to contain most of thedifficult areas of the fire. The fire is posing no threat to property owners.The Gordon river road to Strathgordon is now open, but motorists are requestedto take extreme care, as Fire fighting appliances and crews are working in thearea. Appromiately 2000 Hectares have been burnt so far.

 

HYLANDS RD, MURDUNNA – SITUATION REPORT
05:34:48 PM 26 January, 2003

The fire whilst not contained has not increased significantly.The Southern boundary of the fire is secure and continues to be patrolled byParks & Wildlife and Forestry Tasmania crews. The eastern boundary iscurrently not posing any problems.The northern boundary is not posing a threatto property owners. Aerial reconnaissance continues to map the extent and spreadof this edge of the fire. The western boundary of the fire is currentlycontrolled within Hylands road and fire crews are continously monitoring thesituation. Appromiately 650 hectares has been burnt sofar.

 

BEN LOMOND MARSHES – SITUATION REPORT
05:12:39 PM 26 January, 2003

Since mid morning heavy rain has been falling and FireFighting crews have left the fire as is now safe. Approximately 134 hectareshave been burnt.

 

SADDLEBACK PLANTATION, MATHINNA – SITUATION UPDATE
05:10:23 PM 26 January, 2003

The fire is not contained but is still burning slowly on theedges. The south-west flank of the fire at Cokers Road is contained. Hand crewsare currently working on the Eastern and Northern flanks of the fire and expectto contain those boundaries by tomorrow evening.

Thefire front is still 10 km west of Mathinna and there is no immediate threat toproperty or assets. Approximately 610 hectares have been burnt, includingapproximately 5 hectares of Pine plantation. Rain iscurrently falling assisting fire fighters to control the fire.

 

WHITES FLAT, INTERLAKEN – SITUATION REPORT
05:01:30 PM 26 January, 2003

The fire has not moved significantly today. The fire haspassed through the shack area and no shacks have been lost. The Tasmania FireService are still encouraging shack owners to attend their shacks to assistbrigades with patrol and mopping up operations. The firehas burnt approximately 1400 hectares.

 

UXBRIDGE RD, UXBRIDGE –SITUATION REPORT 
04:54:59 PM 26 January, 2003

The fire is now contained. Fire crews and resources arescaling down. Patrols will continue to extinguish stags into at least mid nextweek. The fire has burnt 2090 hectares.

 

GEES ROAD, CAVESIDE – SITUATION UPDATE
10:15:11 AM 26 January, 2003

There was a flare up of fire yesterday in a large bark dumphowever it was within containment lines. Brigade pulled the heap apart andextinguished the fire. Crews will continue to patrol regularly.


Source:
Tasmania Fire Service (TFS)



GFMC Note
With letters directed to the A.C.T. Bushfire Service and the CFA Victoria on 26January 2003 the GFMC has offered liaison with Russia for the deployment ofIL-76 air tankers to assist the Australian authorities in fire suppression.

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

Australia´s fire seasons


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