Fires in Australia

Firesin Australia

04 January 2006

Information obtained from the Sentinel Fire mapping system provides the following fire location data in Australia for 03-04 January 2006 (Source:

Sentinel Fire Mapping is a mapping tool designed to provide timely fire location data to emergency service managers across Australia. The mapping system allows users to identify fire locations that pose a potential risk to communities and property.

See Recent Media Highlights for more information.

NSW bushfires contained
03 January 2006

A bushfire near Boorowa in south-western New South Wales has been contained and is no longer threatening properties.
Acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile will travel to the region tomorrow to inspect the damage caused by the weekend’s bushfires.
Calmer conditions in the state’s south have helped firefighters strengthen containment lines at a fire near Junee.
Fires on the state’s central coast are burning within containment lines and away from residential areas.
In other areas of the state, a fire in the Wedden Mountains near Grenfell in the central west is still burning in inaccessible country, but is being controlled by waterbombing and backburning.

Boorowa fire
The fire seven kilometres north of Boorowa has burnt out 500 hectares but it is not known if it damaged any properties.
One property was evacuated due to the threat, but residents have been able to return home.
Superintendent Trevor Reeves from the Rural Fire Service says crews are now mopping up.
“We’ve got crews still working to mop up and black out that fire, to make sure it’s safe,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of large trees on fire and close to the edge of the fire ground, which are causing some problems, and we’re looking at getting some earthmoving machinery in to tackle those trees.”

Volunteers praised
Mr Vaile has praised the efforts of volunteer firefighters.
“We’ve already seen one fatality this year in the bushfires and we extend our sympathies to that gentleman’s wife and family,” he said.
“It’s a sad event but it’s a fact of life in Australia. People should take a great deal of care with bushfires and prepare their houses and their properties properly in advance of the hot summer months coming along.”
The Rural Fire Service says 25,000 hectares of land have been scorched around the township of Junee and an estimated 17,000 sheep destroyed.
The property of Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan was among those caught in the fire’s path.

Central coast flare up
Windy conditions caused the fires in the Kariong area on the central coast to flare up this afternoon, but the flames were pushed in a westerly direction away from properties.
The Rural Fire Service says the blaze is burning into fresh vegetation, but is still within containment lines set over the long weekend.
Extra resources including a Skycrane helicopter have been working on keeping the fire contained this afternoon.


Firefighters placed on interstate alert
03 January 2006
Brian Williams and AAP

QUEENSLAND firefighters on annual leave have been asked to voluntarily return to duty should NSW bushfires spiral out of control.

It is expected 50 to 100 firefighters will be sent south if needed.

Firefighters yesterday appealed to Queenslanders to take every possible precaution in preventing blazes after sustained hot weather saw about 30 fires start in NSW and Victoria.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service acting operations co-ordinator Peter Theodore said the service wanted residents to call fire brigades at the earliest sign of smoke in an effort to contain blazes.

One fire broke out between Eumundi and Kenilworth on the Sunshine Coast but was brought under control with back-burning and the help of 10 fire units.

Firefighters in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia were last night clinging to hope they might have controlled bushfires despite virtually everything working against them.

As some NSW fire victims were allowed to return to their properties, authorities said they believed the worst of the blazes had been contained.

Record high temperatures and hot winds on Sunday produced a spate of fires across the state that destroyed property, including eight houses and tens of thousands of cattle.

Among the worst-hit areas were the NSW Central Coast and the Junee area in the state’s southwest where more than 34,000ha have been burnt out.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said bushfire emergencies had been declared in about 20 areas, most to the north of Sydney and around the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions.

Meanwhile, in Victoria, control lines were holding around a bushfire that destroyed seven homes and more than 9000ha near Stawell in the state’s west.

The Country Fire Authority said firefighters remained on high alert in case of a flare-up but the weather bureau is not predicting severe fire conditions for the rest of the week.

And in Western Australia firefighters were monitoring a blaze north of Perth.

No property was damaged or threatened but some roads remain closed as firefighters monitor the fire, which was contained by the early morning.

Australian Fire Threat Rises
03 January 2006

Firefighters in the Australian state of New South Walesare conducting an extensive backburning operation in a race against hot and dryweather expected this weekend.

As many as 300 firefighters worked well into Monday night attempting to set upcontainment lines as conditions eased with light rain and a cool change.

But there’s little reprieve for the Rural Fire Service (RFS) with almost 30fires still burning across the state.

The most serious are in the Hawkesbury, the central coast and near the town ofJunee in the state’s central south.

Fire chiefs want to get the blazes under control as weather forecasters havewarned dangerous conditions will return.

“It’s going to take us about four days to get round all these fires and mopthem up,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Phil Koperberg said.

Premier visits family

NSW Premier Morris Iemma and Commissioner Koperberg visited one family who losttheir Phegan’s Bay home on Sunday to the bushfire.

Premier Iemma told the family “your courage is an inspiration”, while thefamily thanked the firefighters who risked their lives while taking on the blaze.

Mr Iemma also paid a visit to the Rural Fire Control Centre at near Kariong.

In a briefing he was told 652 houses had been directly threatened duringSunday’s firestorm with 800 firefighters deployed at its height.

Arsonists tracked

In the past two days bushfires have raged in the state’s central coast andsouth-west destroying at least eight homes and devastating farmland andlivestock.

A St John’s Ambulance volunteer, Mike Rozier, 64, died of a suspected heartattack on Sunday, while helping people evacuate on the central coast.

A 21-year-old firefighter also remains in a critical condition in a Sydneyhospital, suffering third degree burns to 60 percent of his body.

The young firefighter was trapped in his tractor at the side of a road when fireripped through the township of Junee.

A total fire ban has been declared in the upper central western plains and lowercentral western plains, and a ban also remains in force for the Greater Hunterarea.

Premier Iemma has confirmed that police are tracking 30 known and suspectedarsonists.

Mr Iemma said the arsonists were under surveillance by a network of police,firefighters, family and friends.

He said anyone convicted of arson could face a 14 year jail term.

Mr Iemma said the cause of all the fires was still be investigated.

Assistance pledged

Acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile has
expressed his sympathy to the victims of bushfires raging across the countrysince the weekend.

Speaking on ABC radio he said every support the federal government can offerwill be made available.

Bushfire battle continues as threat eases
02 January 2006

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) says it will take several days to contain the fires that have destroyed homes and stock in New South Wales.

While lower temperatures have brought relief, rain and a change in wind direction have made it hard for the crews to contain the fires.

RFS Commissioner Phil Koperburg says there are three fires on the central coast, while a blaze in the Riverina town of Junee is moving north and is now spread over 35,000 hectares.

Mixed blessing: lower temperatures have brought relief but rain has made it hard for crews to contain fires
Mixed blessing: lower temperatures have brought relief
but rain has made it hard for crews to contain fires (Reuters)

“It’s going to take us about four days to get around all these fires and mop them up,” he said.

“We don’t however, expect a return to bad fire weather until the weekend.”

He says the blazes have destroyed eight homes but are no longer considered to be a threat to property.

A St John’s Ambulance volunteer has had a fatal heart attack, while a firefighter who suffered burns is in a serious condition in a Sydney hospital.

Mike Rozier, who had been a volunteer with St John’s for five years, was taken to hospital from a Woy Woy evacuation centre last night.

St John’s Ambulance commissioner Warren Glenny says the 64-year-old may have suffered a heart attack.

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma says financial help will be available for people who have lost their homes.

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