Expert helps ACT prepare for next bushfire

Expert helps ACT prepare for next bushfire

29 August 2006

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A United States fire expert is helping the ACT better prepare for another major blaze, like the one that devastated Canberra in January 2003.

Jerry Williams, who is the former US director of fire management, is in Australia working with authorities on how to reduce the severity of future firestorms.

ACT Rural Fire Service chief officer Michael Ross says just because the last major bushfire was three years ago, does not mean it will not happen again soon.

“It’s about bringing it to people’s attention, about the management implications for these large fires, given that they happen so infrequently,” he said.

“But what can governments do, what can land managers do, even what fire fighters can do in the years leading up to mega fire development.”

Mr Ross says it is never too early to start.

“Where people can very quickly lapse into a sense of complacency because we’ve had the big fire, and we think we’ve learnt all our lessons and indeed, the realisation is that preparing for the next big fire is not something you do 12 months out, from the next fire or two years out from the fire, it’s something you do years in advance, perhaps even decades in advance,” he said.


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