High fire alert for Aus summer
Firefighters and residents need to be
prepared for more severe bushfires this
summer, according to the report.
Image: iStockphoto 

Residents and firefighters need to be prepared this summer, according to the prediction that most of southern Australia will be at a higher than average fire risk in the coming months.

New data released by the Bushfire CRC on 14 September reveals that all of Victoria, south-eastern New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the settled areas of South Australia can expect above normal fire potential.

The warning comes less than eight months after 173 people died as a result of Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009.

The increased fire risk for 2009-10 is partially a result of the south-east's long period of drought and good wintertime grass grow, according to Gary Morgan, CEO of the Bushfire CRC.

"The fire potential has been estimated by taking account of many factors, not just weather and climate. The fire potential also relates to fuel abundance and availability, recent fire history and the amount of firefighting resources available in a particular area,” said Morgan.

The report also shows that areas of northern New South Wales, extending into Queensland, and much of the Southwest Land Division of Western Australia can expect above average fire potential. Tasmania and Central Australia were predicted to have normal or below-normal fire risks.

The Bushfire CRC map that shows fire potential across Australian will help to people to prepare for the coming summer, according to Professor David Bowman, Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of Tasmania.

"It seems the rules of the game are changing - serious fires are moving from a rare once a generation event to a more common part of life in Australia.  Communities must adapt quickly to this change and such predictions from the Bushfire CRC  are an important part of this process.  Denial of the danger or looking for someone to blame wont remove the threat rather material and psychological preparation is crucial,” said Professor Bowman.

The map Fire Potential Outlook for Australia 2009-2010 is available here.

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