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Strine: Australian
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22 pages full of must
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Australian Bushfires

Australian Bush Fire

Australian Bush Fire Brigades by State

Not much of Australia is free of bushfire. Alongside Southern France and Southern California, Australia's South East is one of the world's most fire-prone areas.

Danger periods occur after long dry spells. In Australia these are most common in the North during Winter/Spring and the South during Summer Autumn.

Australia 101 has put together some points to help you plan for the possibility of bushfire, it is not exhaustive. Please follow the links supplied to the appropriate Australian Authorities for further advice.

Fire factors to consider when buying a home in Australia:

  1. Position
    • If you're at the top of a steep slope, or surrounded by bushland you could be vulnerable.
  2. Vegetation
    • Do you have a zone of protection? There should be 20 metres between your house and the bush. Remember that Eucalypts (gum trees) burn readily due to their highly flammable bark and vast quantity of leaves (containing volatile oils).
  3. Building Materials
    • Is your home made of brick or a more flammable material?
  4. Access
    • In the case of bushfire, would you and your family be able to get out? Would the Fire Brigade be able to get to you? Can your home become isolated?
  5. Your family
    • Do you have older family members and children that will need help to evacuate?

Have a Fire Survival Plan


Fire over Sydney

  • An exit strategy.
  • Allocate responsibilities.
  • Prepare a task list (know where the important things are that you wish to take with you - our number one non-human priority was always the family photo albums)
  • Agree on where to go when you leave the house.
  • Decide in advance under what circumstances you would stay to fight the fire.
    • Showers of sparks can travel kilometers ahead of the main fire and continue for some time after it has passed. Some residents choose to stay and extinguish spot fires. This decision can save your house, but can also cost you your life. A fire front will last around 10 minutes, and is terrifying. If you stay, ensure you have the correct knowledge and resources to be effective. Your local Fire Department can help you understand these issues.
  • Have the right equipment ready.
    • Ladders, strong hoses, buckets, portable radio and batteries, woolen blankets, tape to secure windows (if they crack you want them to stay standing to keep out embers).

Remember to communicate this plan to all members of the family in advance.

Further hints:

  • Plant deciduous or fire resistant natives in your garden.
  • A generator and pump to spread water from your swimming pool could save your house.
  • If exposed to the fire, breath through a moistened cloth to filter the air, cover up your limbs and head, you can also use wet woolen blankets.
  • Turn off all gas and electricity if fire approaches your home.

More help is available on the Emergency Management Australia website.

Addendum written Feb 2005

This article was first published on the 1st of January 2005. On what is now known as Black Tuesday, January 11, the country's most devastating fire in 20 years hit the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

Over 100 hectares of farmland were destroyed, 30,000 sheep killed or later destroyed, and 9 lives were lost. Residents fled to the ocean for safety as flames moved at 100km/hour.

The Australia 101 team would like to offer their deepest sympathy to the communities for their loss. We would also like to inform readers that Natalie Borlase, who lost her mother and two young children in the blaze, urged any future Australian's confronted with bushfire in their vicinity, to evacuate immediately.

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