GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Fires in Australia 

24 December 2003


HIGH FIRE DANGER PREDICTED FOR CHRISTMAS

The Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) warns thepeople of NSW to be aware of very high to extreme fire danger weather expectedover a very hot and very dry Christmas.
“The Bureau of Meteorology expects weather for the next week to be very hot,very dry but not very windy. Fires are very likely to start in theseconditions,” the Commissioner said.
“We hope that if light winds persist then these fires will not develop intomajor bushfires. However, anything you can do to limit the number of fires thatstart over the next week will go a long way towards preventing bushfires fromtaking hold and developing in these difficult conditions over Christmas and newyear.
“The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast temperatures in the 30s and lowrelative humidity. Very high to extreme fire danger weather is expected onChristmas and Boxing Day across all of NSW. The bureau expects similarconditions for the next week.  Rain is not predicted.
“Given these conditions there is a high potential for fires to start anddepending on local conditions, fires could threaten life, property and theenvironment.
“Winds are not expected to be strong so hopefully fires that do start will nottake large runs and develop into major bushfires.“Recent rains may also assistas ground fuels have a little moisture and sea breezes may ease weatherconditions on the coast. But, I reiterate, because it is expected to be hot anddry the potential for fires to start is very high and the people of NSW shouldbe vigilant.
“Given the predicted conditions, the best scenario is to stop ignitions in thefirst place. Even if a total fire ban is not declared, take care, or reconsidersuch things as burning off, camp fires, solid fuel barbecues, discardingcigarettes and using machinery and tools that cause sparks. ”
Check if a Total Fire Ban is declared in your area or areas you are travellingto, by calling 9898 1356 or 1800 654 443.   Fires cannot be litwithout a permit in NSW. Ask your local fire station for a permit. Even if youhave a permit, fires cannot be lit on days of Total Fire Ban.

If you see anyone acting suspiciously in bushland call your local police orCrimeStoppers on 1800 333000.
Interviews are available between 8am and 12 noon today by calling (02) 98981855.

The Current Fire Danger Map can be seen here:
http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?cid=28&the_start=1

Source: NSW RuralFire Service

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