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
Fire Weather Index for the Pacific Region for tomorrow. (Source: ECPCFire Weather Index Forecast)
Latest Fire Maps 26 February 2003 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
DSE/DPI Update Wednesday 10 March 2003
For general information about DPI or DSE please contact: DPI/DSE Customer Service Centre Phone: 136 186 Email: email@example.com Department of Primary Industries / Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria, Australia
DSE Firefighter’s name released 27th February 2003
A media release published by Department of Sustainability and Environment
Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Chief Fire Officer, Gary Morgan, this afternoon released the name of the departmental fire fighter who was tragically drowned in a flash flood in the Upper Buckland Valley, near Beveridge Station, in north east Victoria late yesterday afternoon. She was Cheryl Barber-Fankhauser, 43, of Wandiligong. Mr Morgan appealed to the media and the Victorian community to show compassion to both the families of those involved in the accident, and, to the crew who lost their valued workmate.
Eastern Fires Update 27th February 2003
A joint media release from DSE and CFA
CURRENT SUMMARY After 50 days of dealing with the largest fire in Victoria in over 60 years, two serious accidents occurred near the western edge of the fire yesterday afternoon. In the first accident, late in the afternoon, to the south of Mt Buffalo a fixed-wing fire bombing aircraft crashed. The pilot was rescued and subsequently transferred by air ambulance to the Albury Hospital. In the second accident in the Upper Buckland Valley, storms and localised flash flooding occurred. During the storm, a DSE fire vehicle was washed into a stream. Two crew members were subsequently rescued from the stream. The third person, a seasonal firefighter with DSE from Bright, sadly lost her life. Isolated heavy rain fell across the western end of the fire late yesterday afternoon and early evening. (30mm fell in less than two hours at Mt. Buller and at Mt. Hotham). No significant rain fell in the east or the south of the fire. Work continues to contain the fire’s far eastern edge. Overall, 90% of the fire’s edge remains contained. The Eastern Victorian fires have burnt 1.12 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 1.09 million hectares.
WEATHER IN THE NORTH-EAST AND EAST GIPPSLAND Today: Warm to hot and humid initially. Isolated showers and thunderstorms developing. Rain to follow overnight. Week ahead: Thunder storms easing with rain clearing over the weekend. Showers to follow. Cool to mild.
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. – 18 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 28 February in Noojee (Noojee Hall at 7.30pm) and on Wednesday 5 March in Labertouche (Labertouche Hall at 8pm). 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. Sessions are being conducted jointly by the Department of Primary Industries and the VFF and are being held in the Omeo/Swifts Creek area on Monday March 3 at 10am, Omeo Valley/Benambra on Monday March 3 at 2pm and at Wulgulmerang on Tuesday March 4 at 10am. 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 meetings are also being held to discuss ways to ease the impact of wild dogs as part of an integrated fire recovery program. Meetings are scheduled for today in Buchan Caves (Buchan Caves Reserve Guide Hall at 10am) and Gelantipy (Gelantipy Hall at 1pm) and on Friday 28 February in Tubbut (Tubbut Hall at 1pm). Community gatherings, organised by the Towong and Alpine Shires, regarding fire recovery, are continuing. Meetings are currently scheduled for today 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 725 fires have occurred. These have burnt over 1.3 million hectares. The 20-year average for this time of year is 375 fires, having burnt nearly 70, 000 hectares.
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.
Community Meetings in North and East Victoria
Community meetings for residents. Updated 27 February 2003
Meetings to help communities prepare for fire and providing general advice are as follows…
Friday February 28: Noojee, Noojee Hall, 7:30pm
Monday March 3: Matthew Court, Moe South, 7.30pm
Wednesday March 5: Labertouche, Labertouche Hall, 8:00pm
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. Sessions are being conducted jointly by the Department of Primary Industries and the VFF and are being held in the Omeo/Swifts Creek area on Monday March 3 at 10am, Omeo Valley/Benambra on Monday March 3 at 2pm and at Wulgulmerang on Tuesday March 4 at 10am. 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 meetings are also being held to discuss ways to ease the impact of wild dogs as part of an integrated fire recovery program. A meeting is scheduled for Friday 28 February in Tubbut (Tubbut Hall at 1pm). Community gatherings, organised by the Towong and Alpine Shires, regarding fire recovery, are continuing. Meetings are currently scheduled for today in Porepunkah (Porepunkah Public Hall at 5pm) and in Myrtleford (Myrtleford Senior Citizens Club at 8pm). Additional information will be added as it comes to hand. The above information has been extracted from Eastern Fires Updates (also on this news page) and local Community Updates, produced locally – they are available on the Department of Sustainability and Environment website. (this link goes straight to the updates page)
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.