GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

26 Februar 2003


Bushfires Raging in Southeast Australia:

 

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Bands 3-6-7
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This true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer  (MODIS) image was captured by the Terra satellite on 18 February 2003.

The NOAA/NESDIS Experimental Fire Potential Product
This product is based on the estimated intensity and duration of vegetation stress which can be used as a proxy for assessment of fire potential and danger. It combines two satellite-based indices – the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and thermal data from the NOAA AVHRR sensors. Area, intensity, and duration of vegetation stress, fire potential and danger can be estimated from colour-coded maps covering all continents. An introduction to the weekly updated products are accessible at: http://orbit-net.nesdis.noaa.gov/crad/sat/surf/fpm/index.html.

click to enlarge (140 KB)

Latest weekly global fire potential product map, including Australia 
(upper scene) 
and comparison with the situation in the previous month (map below)
(Source: NOAA/NESDIS Experimental Fire Potential Product, prepared by Felix Kogan, Robert M.Carey and David Forsyth.)


Fire Weather Forecast for the Pacific Region

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Fire Weather Index for the 
Pacific Region for tomorrow.
(Source: ECPCFire Weather Index Forecast)

 

Actual Fire Situation Maps,Victoria
An actual fire situation map can be found directly at:
Statewide fire situation

Source: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/  

 

 

DSE/DPI Update Wednesday February 26 2003 8.30am (Day 50)

Current Summary

· The vast majority of the fire’s edge remains contained and line strengthening and patrol work continues.

· The western edge of the fire, in the vicinity of the Razor-Viking wilderness area, continues to require significant work, particularly on several ‘hot spots’. In the far east of the fire area the strategy, which has been made possible by the milder weather, continues to combine limited backburning with letting the fire burn out to a major creek line. If successful, this strategy should see the eventual size of the fire’s East Gippsland section considerably less than was originally envisaged.

· The first of the 35 person US fire crew, and specialist Incident Controllers, who assisted so ably with the fire return to the US today. The remaining personnel fly out on Friday.

· So far, the Eastern Victorian fires have burnt 1.11 million hectares of Victorian parks and forests. This figure includes the large number of lightning-caused fires that were contained in the first weeks of January.

· The main Eastern Victorian fire, which stretches from Mt Buffalo in the west, to the NSW border and to the Tubbut area in East Gippsland, is still active and has burnt nearly 1.08 million hectares.

Weather in the north-east and East Gippsland
Today: Morning fog then warm and humid (high 20s/early 30s). Winds NE-SE 15-30kph.
Week ahead: Gradually warming up with humid conditions and morning fog patches. South-west change late in the week with possible rain.

Resources on the Eastern Fires
· Personnel currently involved:
– Around 2000 from the Government agencies committed, with about 950 personnel currently working on the fire.
– Local CFA brigades remain on standby and a number of CFA vehicles remain located in key areas and are able to be crewed by personnel from outside the region should that become necessary.
– 19 Tasmanians
– 31 New Zealanders

· Thirty aircraft available statewide (12 currently deployed to the fire), over 90 specialised vehicles, around 20 bulldozers.

Agencies involved
The Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Primary Industries, Parks Victoria, the Country Fire Authority, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, local municipalities, New Zealand fire and conservation agencies, The Salvation Army, Red Cross, Rural Ambulance Victoria, St John Ambulance, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, State Emergency Service and Victoria Police.

Threats to private property and road closures
· For details of currently confirmed property losses please call CFA on 13 15 99. In total around 75,000 hectares of farming land has been burnt, 41 houses, over 200 other buildings and 11,000 head of stock. Losses continue to be assessed.

· See description of individual fires for current threats to private property. For information on significant fires on private land in rural Victoria, please call the CFA on 13 15 99 or 1800 240 667.

· For information regarding public road closures, please call the Victoria Police Emergency Information Line on 1800 444 343.

· For information on Gippsland fires, and on post fire assistance, please call the Traralgon Information Line on 1800 668 066 (8am – 8pm).

    Community Information
    · Community meetings continue to be held throughout the area. To date 88 community meetings have been conducted in the North East and Gippsland, with around 8,500 people attending. A community meeting is currently scheduled for Friday 28th February in Noojee (Noojee Hall, 7.30pm).

    · Farmers affected by fire continue to be invited to two-hour on-farm information sessions to address key issues that will influence farm recovery from the fires. These sessions are being conducted jointly by the Department of Primary Industries and the VFF. Topics will include feeding livestock, farmer’s experience in recovery after fire and pasture recovery from the fire. For details please call Department of Primary Industries, Bairnsdale on (03) 5152 0600.

    · Community gatherings, organised by the Towong and Alpine Shires, regarding fire recovery, are continuing. Meetings are currently scheduled for today in Tallangatta (Tallangatta Triangles at 6pm), in Wandiligong (Public Hall at 5pm) and in Bright (Community and Entertainment Centre at 8pm), and on Thursday in Porepunkah (Porepunkah Public Hall at 5pm) and in Myrtleford (Myrtleford Senior Citizens Club at 8pm).

    · Liaison between local shires/DSE/DPI/CFA/PV and Victoria Police continues on a regular basis, as does liaison with NSW fire agencies. Local Community Updates continue to be circulated on a regular basis.

    · The DSE website (www.nre.vic.gov.au) is being regularly updated with fire information as it comes to hand, including community newsletters and maps.

    Fire Statistics
    Victoria has around 7.7 million hectares of parks and forests. In an average summer around 620 wildfires occur and these burn around 110,000 hectares. To date this season 724 fires have occurred. These have burnt over 1.3 million hectares. The 20-year average for this time of year is 372 fires, having burnt nearly 70, 000 hectares.

    For general information about DPI or DSE please contact:
    DPI/DSE Customer Service Centre
    Phone: 136 186
    Email: customer.service@nre.vic.gov.au
    Department of Primary Industries / Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria, Australia

    Source: DSE/DPI

     

    Fire-update Victoria

    Gippsland Fire Information 26 Feb 4:00pm

    Information for the local community and visitors to Gippsland and the North-East about going fires and the control measures being used in Gippsland. Incident Control Centres are operating at Swifts Creek, Orbost and Heyfield for the Bogong South Complex.

    The Bogong Complex (south) Fires

    Heyfield Incident Control Fires

    Infra-red checks are being undertaken to locate any remaining hotspots this morning.
    Recovery teams have been established to move forward into rehabilitation work, particularly on fire control lines and soil erosion.

    Swifts Creek Incident Control Fires
    Crews are concentrating on patrolling and mopping up edges. The largest amount of fire is in the Nunniong area, which is slowly burning itself out.
    Recovery teams are being developed to move into the rehabilitation phase.

    Orbost Incident Control Fires
    A spotfire near Campbells Knob, 8kms east of Gelantipy has reached seven hectares. Crews have been hampered by the rugged terrain and blackberries, but hope to have the fire contained today.
    Fog and smoke were preventing aircraft from assisting with this fire.

    Mansfield District Fire Update 26 Feb 3:00pm

    Information for the local community about the progress of the Mt. Buffalo fire and the measures being implemented to control that fire.

    What is happening?
    Rainfall last week has eased the situation considerably allowing fire crews to directly attack the fire within containment lines. Unless conditions change considerably there will not be another community update, however there will be regular updates in the local media as the situation requires. Fire authorities wish to reassure local communities that there is no immediate threat to life or property. Information on the fires is available on the websites for the Department of Sustainability and Environment, the Country Fire Authority, the Rural City of Wangaratta and the Mt Buller website. Information will also be available through the Shire offices, local schools, post offices, general stores, hotels and community notice boards. View a map of the Mansfield area.

    Current overview
    Good progress has been made over the past few days with some 25 kilometres of containment lines being established around the spotovers. The western edge of the fire, in the vicinity of the Razor-Viking Wilderness area, continues to require significant work, particularly on several hot spots. Crews have to walk large distances to the fireline as the majority of the work being done is with handtools and rake hoe trails due to the difficult terrain. There is still a lot of work to be done inside the containment line with blacking out and mopping up.

    Where to from here?
    Local communities still need to keep an eye on the situation until the hot weather passes and more substantial rain falls.
    The CFA Community Fireguard groups have established ‘phone trees’ as an effective communication network, particularly for ‘at risk or vulnerable neighbours.
    If you would like to know more about phone trees or Community Fireguard contact Sue on 5721 4122.

    Ovens Valley Fire Update 26 Feb 2:45pm

    Information for the local community about the fires in the Ovens Valley area and measures being implemented to control them.
    Todays weather conditions have been described as a ‘mirror image’ of yesterday, with temperatures in the mid 30’s and high humidity.
    The weather is expected to gradually warm up by the end of the week with a late change on Friday with possible rain.
    The milder conditions have allowed fire crews to continue direct attack with good progress being made in the last couple of days.
    Some 25 kilometres of containment lines have been established around the spotovers -and there is still a lot of work, blacking out and mopping up to do inside the containment lines.
    The western edge of the fire in the vicinity of the Razor-Viking Wilderness area continues to require significant work, particularly on several hot spots.
    Some 240 crew have been deployed to the fire line and are walking long distances to the fireline as the majority of the work being done is with handtools and rake hoes trails due to the difficult terrain.
    A complete visual overview of the fire has been carried out and the situation is looking very positive. It is anticipated the fire will be contained by the end of the week.
    For information on road closures and threats to private property, contact the Victoria Police Emergency Information Line on 1800 444 343

    Visiting parks and forests? Contact the Parks Victoria Information Line on 13 19 63
    For up-to-date information on fire threat residents of Alpine Shire, contact the Alpine Shire’s Municipal Emergency Co-ordination Centre on 03 57 550 524, or Towong Shire Emergency Co-ordination Centre on 02 6071 2747
    More information is available on the DSE and CFA Websites.

    Volunteer Hotline Established

    A joint media release from Department of Sustainability and Environment and CFA

    The Bracks Government today announced the establishment of a volunteer hotline for people wanting to help out in bushfire affected areas of Victoria in the medium to long term. Visiting north east Victoria, the Minister for State and Regional Development, John Brumby, said the dedicated 1800 number would allow people to register their interest in becoming volunteers. ‘Volunteers are already doing a terrific job in assisting with fire fighting and immediate fire recovery efforts,’ Mr Brumby said. ‘This hotline will give them and others the opportunity to register their interest in helping out with longer term recovery efforts over the coming months,’ Mr Brumby said. He said a range of skills would be needed to help areas affected by fire get back on their feet. ‘Volunteers can provide services ranging from fence construction to tree planting, painting to debris removal,’ he said. ‘The list of services required will grow as Government Departments work with local communities to determine the assistance required.’ Mr Brumby said that volunteer efforts during the bushfire recovery reflected the State’s strong history of volunteerism. ‘Victorians are renowned for their generosity,’ he said. ‘Volunteers registered will be used to support our existing volunteer organisations and local community recovery committees.’ Mr Brumby said the Bushfire Recovery Volunteer Register would operate 24 hours, seven days a week. ‘Once Victorians register on the hotline, they will be sent an information and registration package,’ he said. ‘When the information has been returned to the Department for Victorian Communities, the details will be collated and volunteers contacted once a specific need for their service has been identified. Mr Brumby said that today’s announcement followed the establishment of the 2003 Victorian Bushfire Recovery Appeal Fund earlier in the week. ‘By offering both the fundraising and volunteer hotlines, we are providing Victorians with a number of ways to help communities that are hurting following this devastating bushfire season,’ he said. Individuals and organisations wishing to offer voluntary assistance should ring the toll free Bushfire Recovery Volunteer Register on 1800 287 400.
    Those wishing to make a financial donation to the 2003 Victorian Bushfire Recovery Appeal Fund should ring 1800 890 390. Donations are tax deductible.

    Weather conditions continue to assist fire crews 26th February 8.30am

    CURRENT SUMMARY
    The vast majority of the fire’s edge remains contained and line strengthening and patrol work continues.
    The western edge of the fire, in the vicinity of the Razor-Viking wilderness area, continues to require significant work, particularly on several ‘hot spots’. In the far east of the fire area the strategy, which has been made possible by the milder weather, continues to combine limited backburning with letting the fire burn out to a major creek line. If successful, this strategy should see the eventual size of the fire’s East Gippsland section considerably less than was originally envisaged.
    The first of the 35 person US fire crew, and specialist Incident Controllers, who assisted so ably with the fire return to the US today. The remaining personnel fly out on Friday.
    So far, the Eastern Victorian fires have burnt 1.11 million hectares of Victorian parks and forests. This figure includes the large number of lightning-caused fires that were contained in the first weeks of January.
    The main Eastern Victorian fire, which stretches from Mt Buffalo in the west, to the NSW border and to the Tubbut area in East Gippsland, is still active and has burnt nearly 1.08 million hectares.

    WEATHER IN THE NORTH-EAST AND EAST GIPPSLAND
    Today:
    Morning fog then warm and humid (high 20s/early 30s). Winds NE-SE 15-30kph.

    Week ahead:
    Gradually warming up with humid conditions and morning fog patches. South-west change late in the week with possible rain.

    RESOURCES ON THE EASTERN FIRES
    Personnel currently involved:
    Around 2000 from the Government agencies committed, with about 950 personnel currently working on the fire.
    Local CFA brigades remain on standby and a number of CFA vehicles remain located in key areas and are able to be crewed by personnel from outside the region should that become necessary.
    – 9 Tasmanians
    – 31 New Zealanders

    Thirty aircraft available statewide (12 currently deployed to the fire), over 90 specialised vehicles, around 20 bulldozers.

    AGENCIES INVOLVED
    The Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Primary Industries, Parks Victoria, the Country Fire Authority, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, local municipalities, New Zealand fire and conservation agencies, The Salvation Army, Red Cross, Rural Ambulance Victoria, St John Ambulance, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, State Emergency Service and Victoria Police.

    THREATS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY AND ROAD CLOSURES
    For details of currently confirmed property losses please call CFA on 13 15 99. In total around 75,000 hectares of farming land has been burnt, 41 houses, over 200 other buildings and 11,000 head of stock. Losses continue to be assessed.
    See description of individual fires for current threats to private property. For information on significant fires on private land in rural Victoria, please call the CFA on 13 15 99 or 1800 240 667.
    For information regarding public road closures, please call the Victoria Police Emergency Information Line on 1800 444 343.
    For information on Gippsland fires, and on post fire assistance, please call the Traralgon Information Line on 1800 668 066 (8am – 8pm).

    Local Community Updates are available on the DSE website.

    FIRE STATISTICS
    Victoria has around 7.7 million hectares of parks and forests. In an average summer around 620 wildfires occur and these burn around 110,000 hectares. To date this season 724 fires have occurred. These have burnt over 1.3 million hectares. The 20-year average for this time of year is 372 fires, having burnt nearly 70, 000 hectares.

    Latest Fire Maps 26 Feb 11am

    North East Fires Maps

    The following maps are updated up to twice daily:

    Overview Map – (jpeg approx 200kb)

    Closer view of North East Fires – (jpeg approx 200kb)

    Hi resolution PDF file of Fires (can zoom in on this map) – Large Download* (pdf size from 2 to 3Mb)

    Further Information:
    CSIRO also provide online mapping of the fires situation at http://www.sentinel.csiro.au

    *Note – this map is hosted on the Land Victoria website.

    Source: CFA (Country Fire Authority) 

    Further informationand resources
    Information hotlines for residents in the Towong Shire (02) 6071 5100 and theAlpine Shire 5755 0524
    Victoria Police Information hotline (road closures) 1800 444 343
    Parks Victoria Hotline 13 19 63
    CFA Community Hotline 1800 240 667
    Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) website
    DSECommunity Updates – available for Upper Murray, Ovens and Kiewa Valley,Gippsland, Beechworth and Bogong fires. Detailed reports, produced daily.
    NSW RuralFire Service website
    …and stay tuned to your local radio station.

    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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