Red Centre warned of huge bushfire season

Red Centre warned of huge bushfire season

20 April 2011

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Australia — Bushfires NT is warning the Territory is facing its biggest bushfire season in years, with huge areas of Central Australia expected to experience “intense” grass fires as the weather dries out.

Director Steve Sutton says record rainfall during the wet season has resulted in large amounts of grass growth across the Territory.

He says that means there is plenty of fuel for bushfires and that unlike other years, bushfires are not expected to be isolated to the Top End.

“We’re going to have widespread fires all over the Territory,” he said.

“Normally we have fires in the Top End every year, as you know, and rarely in Central Australia.

“Fuel loads in the Top End are going to be higher than we’ve experienced in the past and that means hotter, more dangerous fires.

“This is one of those rare years where we are going to have fires in Central Australia and they are not going to be mild. They are going to be quite intense fires in the centre as well.”

Mr Sutton says for the first time in years, grass in some areas in Central Australia is waist-high.

“Central Australia has had well above [average] rain over the last couple of months and that’s led to fuel growth,” he said.

“So parts of the Territory that haven’t really had any vegetative fuel on them for five to seven years have now got waist-high grass as far as the eye can see.”

Mr Sutton says Territorians need to be prepared for the worst bushfire season in years.

He says Bushfires NT will conduct prescribed burning and residents in rural areas who want to take part should apply for a permit.

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