Red alert for grey nomads in bushfire-prone areas

Published: September 2, 2015

Spring has sprung and, with summer now just around the corner, the risks of bushfires grows quickly. And it looks like being a nasty season.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre has warned that the prolonged dry weather means an above average bushfire risk in Australia’s south-east and west.

As always, grey nomads who tend to travel in remote bushfire-prone areas, will need to take extreme care and monitor the bushfire situation carefully.

The research centre’s seasonal outlook said recent rain in some areas would do little to reduce the threat.
“It comes down to that long-term deficit of rainfall,” Chief Executive Richard Thornton, told the ABC. “We’ve had floods in New South Wales but what that will do is, in a localised area, will maybe push back the start of the fire season.”

He said that, because of that, long-term subsoil dryness it’s not going to make a big difference to the total picture.

“You’re going to need a few years of sustained above average rainfall to correct some of those very, very dry soils,” he said.

The Centre’s fire risk map shows high risk areas being the forested regions down from Queensland through New South Wales, into western parts of Victoria and into South Australia. It also indicates an above normal outlook for the south-western forest regions in WA and through the middle of that state.

However, Dr Thornton cautioned that people living or travelling in ‘green areas’ didn’t mean they were safe from bushfire.

“Green means that it’s an average year, and it’s worth remembering that an average year in Australia has fire in it,” he said. “Every year we get days which are total fire bans. Whether you are in a green area or red area, there’s still high risk.”

* Are you bushfire aware as you travel? Have you ever been affected by a bushfire? Comment below.

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