Fires in Australia

Fires in Australia

26 February 2009

Bushfires in Southeast Australia

Firefighters in Victoria, Australia, brought the state’s devastating bushfires under control one by one in February 2009. Among the remaining fires still listed as “going” in the 25 February fire status report from the Victoria Department of Sustainability and the Environment was the 158,000-hectare (390,425-acre) Killmore East-Murrundindi North fire.

This image of the fire was captured on 25 February by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Places where the sensor detected actively burning fire are outlined in red. Hotspots along the eastern perimeter of the fire were among the places where the fire was proving difficult to control; the main fire breached a containment line near Dray Track on 25 February. Southerly winds blew smoke northward over Lake Eildon at the time of this image, but a change in direction was expected in coming days.

25 February 2009

The large image provided above is at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of region in additional resolutions.

(source: earth observatory)

NPWS/FNSW Victorian deployment SitRep Thursday 26 February 2009


  • There are 6 going 15 contained fires this morning. Containment activity on all fires is focussing on strengthening southerly edges in anticipation of Friday’s extreme weather.  The major Kilmore East-Murrindindi fire continues to spread with two new spotovers in remote and difficult terrain.
  • NPWS/FNSW deployment today include 171 crew (124 NPWS & 47 FNSW)  in total (fireline or resting).  There are 3,246 people deployed on fires today, including 523 people in 95 appliances from NSW.
  • Relatively mild conditions with FFDIs ranging from Moderate to Very High will persist today and tomorrow.  The Friday forecast remains generally hot with moderate to fresh north to northwesterly winds ahead of a cooler, gusty southwesterly (ETA 1700), with FFDI Very high to Extreme in all districts.  Saturday should see an easing with southerly winds, and importantly there is no severe weather forecast in the 7 days after Friday.
  • In response to the additional 50 slipons requested yesterday, NPWS will supply an additional 15 cat 9 units as Taskforce Echo.
  • Tree fall remains a significant risk to all crews and mitigation measures are in place. An updated safety alert is in preparation for integration into briefings and distribution to all inbound crews. Another fire fighter was injured yesterday afternoon from a falling tree. The officer was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital late yesterday after being stabilised at the scene.
  • Two new spot fires have been identified on the Kilmore East fire. One of these fires is of suspicious nature and is currently being investigated.
  • All teams are safe, well and in high morale.

NSW NPWS and FNSW resources

Alexandra ICC

  • Three FNSW Plant Managers continue at the Alexandra IMT and have integrated well into the IMT and will be rolled over as their respective shifts are completed.
  • Task Force Alpha1 (10 NPWS and 8 FNSW Cat 9s and a TFL) are tasked to Mt Torbreck (Dray Track Sector)  with active mopping up and patrol on the two new spot fires.  A SOT team remains with the NPWS/FNSW Task Forces at Alexandra.
  • Task Force Quebec (8 NPWS and 2 FNSW cat 9 and a TFL) were tasked to the Dray Track Sector last night to continue with mopping up and blacking out. The incoming Quebec team will undertake a swing shift tonight commencing at 14:00hrs
  • Task Force Zulu1 (10 NPWS and 4 FNSW and a TFL) returned home. Their vehicles were serviced and cleaned, and Zulu4 are in preparation for a swing shift commencing at 14:00hrs
  • Two FNSW mechanics are providing a very valuable role servicing Alexandra vehicles, and the TFL has implemented arrangements for them to secure consumables direct from local suppliers.

WooriYallock ICC

  • Strike Team Oscar3 (3 NPWS and 2 FNSW Cat 9s and a TFL) continued with line strengthening in the Upper Yarr area. Significant effort continues with line consolidation and strengthening in preparation for Fridays expected weather. The team has shifted accommodation to Wesburn, placing them 5 minutes from the staging area.
  • Taskforce Echo will arrive at Altona today, collect and check their vehicle before proceeding to Healesville for accommodation and preparation for fire line duty on Friday.

Kangaroo Ground ICC

  • The Kangaroo Ground interagency IMT (4 FNSW, 7 NPWS) have integrated well and are consolidating in preparation for Friday.  Light drizzle fell yesterday morning and over night temperatures drop to 5 degrees.

Melbourne iECC

  • Changeover planning continues to be hampered by the late provision of flight information.  A revised schedule for the NPWS/FNSW ILO Melbourne has been completed with the introduction of a two person team on a rotational basis. The induction material for inbound team leaders has been updated, and incoming TFLs are being briefed by the ILO.

BAER team

  • Doug Beckers (Central Branch) and Margaret Kitchin (ACT) have joined the USA Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team working to the Alexandra ICC.

NSW NPWS/FNSW organisational arrangements – Victorian Fires


Victoria: Joint DSE/CFA State Situation Report on 25 February 2009, 1600hrs

The current situation in Australia is covered by a number of detailed reports (see GFMC Media web page):

Further Information on the Fire Situation in Australia:

SA Country Fire Service  NSW Rural Fire Service Near-Real Time Wildland Fire Monitoring  Current weather situation, forecasts, fireweather Further Information Australian and New Zealand links Background information Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics

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