Monster fire day. Bans, closures.

By 7 January, 2013 58

extreme

NSW emergency brass are on ABC News24 right now worried about the end of the world tomorrow.

In towns as close as Braidwood and including the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions they’re asking tourists to clear out.

We will, of course, keep you posted.


UPDATE 07/01/13 14:13: The ACT’s ESA has now issued a fire ban and extreme fire danger warning:

ACT Emergency Services Agency A/g Commissioner Tony Graham has declared a Total Fire Ban for the whole of the ACT under Section 114 of the Emergencies Act 2004 from:

12:00am January 8, 2013 to 23:59pm January 8, 2013.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a very hot and windy day with a forecast top temperature of 38 degrees.

The forecast Fire Danger Rating for tomorrow in the ACT is predicted to be EXTREME.

The community is urged to report any smoke or fire sightings immediately to Emergency Triple Zero (000).

If a fire starts at the forecast fire danger level of EXTREME it may be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving flames will be higher than roof tops.

There is a very high likelihood that people in the path of the fire will be injured or die. Many homes and businesses will be destroyed.

Only well prepared, well constructed and actively defended houses are likely to offer safety during a fire.

Thousands of embers will be blown around.

Spot fires will move quickly and come from many directions, up to 6 km ahead of the fire.

For your survival leaving is the best option. You should relocate to the location identified in your Bushfire Survival Plan.

The ESA advises you to make sure you know where you will get more information and monitor the situation for any changes. You can do this through local ACT media outlets, the ESA website www.esa.act.gov.au, the ESA Twitter and Facebook accounts or by calling Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

To find out more about Total Fire Bans log on to the ACT Emergency Services Agency website www.esa.act.gov.au or call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.


UPDATE 07/01/13 14:21: TAMS are closing roads and reserves:

Territory and Municipal Services wishes to advise that due to a total fire ban, which is in place tomorrow (Tuesday 8 January 2013), the following nature reserves and roads will be closed:

    – Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (the Visitor Centre will remain open);

    – selected roads within Namadgi National Park including Apollo Road, Orroral Road, Old Mill Road, Warks Road, Mount Franklin Road at Piccadilly Circus, and the Corin Dam Road (the

    – Namadgi Visitor Centre will remain open);

    – Googong Foreshores;

    – Lower Molonglo River Corridor; and

    – Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary.

Note that the Boboyan Road and Brindabella Road remain open to through traffic.

Additionally Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Googong Foreshores as well as Kowen Forest will remain closed from tomorrow until 7 am Saturday 12 January 2013 in the interests of public safety.


UPDATE 07/01/13 14:28: The NSW RFS website now has “CATASTROPHIC” (the new one worse than EXTREME) fire danger warnings for the following regions tomorrow:

    – Illawarra/Shoalhaven,

    – Southern Ranges,

Which is all very close to home.

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58 Responses to Monster fire day. Bans, closures.
#1
RiotFrog2:11 pm, 07 Jan 13
#2
davo1012:12 pm, 07 Jan 13

A forecast of 38 degrees with 50 km/h winds and humidity below 10%, not unexpected then.

#3
johnboy2:15 pm, 07 Jan 13

Now with our own ESA’s total fire ban and extreme fire danger notice.

#4
Samuel Gordon-Stewar2:16 pm, 07 Jan 13

Nothing online? Let’s do this in chronological order:

11:25AM: Bushfirefire Conditions “awful” on Tuesday (Daily Tele/AAP) http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/bushfire-conditions-awful-on-tuesday/story-e6freuz0-1226548687055

12:23PM: “Catastrophic conditions”: Bushfire danger as mercury to hit 45 degress (SMH) http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/catastrophic-conditions-bushfire-danger-as-mercury-to-hit-45-degrees-20130107-2cbto.html

1:15PM: PM urges vigilance in NSW amid hot temps (Daily Tele/AAP) http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/pm-urges-vigilance-in-nsw-amid-hot-temps/story-e6freuz0-1226548880889

1:55PM: NSW faces “worst ever” fire danger day (ABC) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-07/nsw-faces-27worst-ever27-fire-danger-day/4455368?section=nsw

And then there’s the fire danger page on the NSW RFS website. The “tomorrow” column lists a total fire ban for all of NSW tomorrow, but not the ACT. Our authorities might get around to following suit soon. http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_TOBAN_HTML.cfm

#5
Samuel Gordon-Stewar2:18 pm, 07 Jan 13

It’s extraordinary how the ESA website updates in the few minutes it takes me to write a comment…

#6
muscledude_oz2:36 pm, 07 Jan 13

14:25 Mon: Total Fire Ban just declared for the ACT on Tuesday.

#7
Chop713:12 pm, 07 Jan 13

I hope the police are out catching idiots with matches.

#8
shirty_bear3:35 pm, 07 Jan 13

38C and 45km/h westerlies, huh? This is getting up near the sort of conditions we had on the day Cbr burned back in ’03 … according to wiki, it was 40C and 60km/h that day. Most unpleasant.

#9
KB19713:36 pm, 07 Jan 13

Chop71 said :

I hope the police are out catching idiots with matches.

I followed a dick in a Kenworth out of Cooma yesterday, the thermometer in the car was nudging 40 & he threw a cigarette butt out the window…….

#10
trevar3:48 pm, 07 Jan 13

This ridiculous notion of having a fire danger called ‘catastrophic’ is absurd. The descriptor ‘catastrophic’ can’t be applied prior to an event occurring for very good reason. The word catastrophe means either unexpected and bad, or worse than expected. in Ancient Greek, where the word came from, it means the reversal of expectations.

So if they’re predicting something ‘catastrophic’, they’re either predicting the opposite of their predictions, or they’re predicting that it will be worse than they’re predicting, or they’re predicting that it won’t be as bad as they’re predicting. Whichever it is, their predictions are, by definition, inaccurate, because nothing that’s catastrophic can be predicted.

However good these folk might be at their jobs, I think they should get someone at least semi-literate to do their communications and describe fire danger accurately, instead of confusing us with this oxymoron.

#11
Roundhead893:49 pm, 07 Jan 13

shirty_bear said :

38C and 45km/h westerlies, huh? This is getting up near the sort of conditions we had on the day Cbr burned back in ’03 … according to wiki, it was 40C and 60km/h that day. Most unpleasant.

Could everybody please stop panicking? The 2003 bushfires came during a drought which had already been underway for four years. The district was tinder dry and this contributed greatly to the severity of the firestorm. By contrast we have recently emerged from an almost three year La Nina and the grasslands are still fairly green and lush. I suggest everybody takes a chill pill.

#12
Brindabella3:59 pm, 07 Jan 13

According to http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_TOBAN_HTML.cfm, it’s OK to light a fire today! Time to fire up the Weber in the middle of the Shoalhaven!

If the fire brigrade judge that the day after tomorrow is “Catastrophic”, why on Earth would they not declare a total fire ban from that time on….?!?

#13
johnboy4:02 pm, 07 Jan 13

Brindabella said :

According to http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_TOBAN_HTML.cfm, it’s OK to light a fire today! Time to fire up the Weber in the middle of the Shoalhaven!

If the fire brigrade judge that the day after tomorrow is “Catastrophic”, why on Earth would they not declare a total fire ban from that time on….?!?

My understanding is that, at least in NSW, fire bans have to be gazetted to have legal effect.

We don’t really want our governments getting in the habit of banning things without letting us know.

#14
Brindabella4:12 pm, 07 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Brindabella said :

According to http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_TOBAN_HTML.cfm, it’s OK to light a fire today! Time to fire up the Weber in the middle of the Shoalhaven!

If the fire brigrade judge that the day after tomorrow is “Catastrophic”, why on Earth would they not declare a total fire ban from that time on….?!?

My understanding is that, at least in NSW, fire bans have to be gazetted to have legal effect.

We don’t really want our governments getting in the habit of banning things without letting us know.

Bureaucracy gone mad. Tell that to the people who lose everything tomorrow.

The NSWFS page is being updated by the minute! Why wouldn’t they have a total fire ban today!?

Who is going to sue because their sausages couldn’t be cooked?

They NSWFS know. They are the agency. Common sense should prevail.

#15
Gungahlin Al4:15 pm, 07 Jan 13

Things that start fires that people might not think about:
* slashing/mowing dry grass and hitting a stone
* parking a petrol-fueled car over grass
* glass bottle in roadside litter
* welding, angle grinding.

It’s not all about cigarettes…

#16
Ben_Dover4:23 pm, 07 Jan 13

Chop71 said :

I hope the police are out catching idiots with matches.

Anyone caught arseing about in that way, or dropping lit butts, or having a back yard rubbish burn should get a one way ticket to Somalia, courtesy of the ACT govt.

#17
switch4:23 pm, 07 Jan 13

trevar said :

However good these folk might be at their jobs, I think they should get someone at least semi-literate to do their communications and describe fire danger accurately, instead of confusing us with this oxymoron.

You prefer the even sillier “Code Red” descriptor some states use? Whatever it means outside American hospital dramas. At least catastrophic gets people paying attention.

#18
Brindabella4:31 pm, 07 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Brindabella said :

According to http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_TOBAN_HTML.cfm, it’s OK to light a fire today! Time to fire up the Weber in the middle of the Shoalhaven!

If the fire brigrade judge that the day after tomorrow is “Catastrophic”, why on Earth would they not declare a total fire ban from that time on….?!?

My understanding is that, at least in NSW, fire bans have to be gazetted to have legal effect.

We don’t really want our governments getting in the habit of banning things without letting us know.

http://the-riotact.com/should-you-trust-the-government/91303

#19
wildturkeycanoe4:33 pm, 07 Jan 13

Roundhead89 said :

shirty_bear said :

38C and 45km/h westerlies, huh? This is getting up near the sort of conditions we had on the day Cbr burned back in ’03 … according to wiki, it was 40C and 60km/h that day. Most unpleasant.

Could everybody please stop panicking? The 2003 bushfires came during a drought which had already been underway for four years. The district was tinder dry and this contributed greatly to the severity of the firestorm. By contrast we have recently emerged from an almost three year La Nina and the grasslands are still fairly green and lush. I suggest everybody takes a chill pill.

There was also a whooping great pine forest to the west to fuel the fires, now there’s just fields of partially dry grass. We also have a system in place to stop the disaster repeating, wasn’t that what all the fuss and money spent achieved after 2003??

#20
Bails4:35 pm, 07 Jan 13

Roundhead89 said :

shirty_bear said :

38C and 45km/h westerlies, huh? This is getting up near the sort of conditions we had on the day Cbr burned back in ’03 … according to wiki, it was 40C and 60km/h that day. Most unpleasant.

Could everybody please stop panicking? The 2003 bushfires came during a drought which had already been underway for four years. The district was tinder dry and this contributed greatly to the severity of the firestorm. By contrast we have recently emerged from an almost three year La Nina and the grasslands are still fairly green and lush. I suggest everybody takes a chill pill.

Uhh. While I don’t thing people should panic either, I think you’re a touch wrong. The above-average rainfall over the past few years has meant RFS hasn’t been able to burn off anywhere near as much of the surrounding bushland as they’d like. It’s also helped grass grow to be very tall, and the recent hot weather has dried it all out.

Grass fires are much more intense and fast, I would suggest.

#21
Gungahlin Al4:39 pm, 07 Jan 13

Oh and for anyone in any way in a possible hazard zone: tonight is the night to back up all your computers/photos/papers onto an external drive so you can take it to work tomorrow.

When I listened through all the survival interviews after the Victorian fires, it was amazing how many people got themselves into trouble because they were trying to gather up papers and photos and things too late.

#22
Thumper6:39 pm, 07 Jan 13

Settle down people. As much the sensational news reports want you to believe that everything is pointing to a repeat of 2003, it isn’t.

#23
Golden-Alpine6:50 pm, 07 Jan 13

Gungahlin Al said :

Oh and for anyone in any way in a possible hazard zone: tonight is the night to back up all your computers/photos/papers onto an external drive so you can take it to work tomorrow.

When I listened through all the survival interviews after the Victorian fires, it was amazing how many people got themselves into trouble because they were trying to gather up papers and photos and things too late.

After 2003 I would have thought we could assume most of Canberra is in a hazard zone. Some more than others….

#24
Deckard7:57 pm, 07 Jan 13

Bails said :

Grass fires are much more intense and fast, I would suggest.

Than a pine and eucalypt fueled fire storm? I’d suggest not.

#25
c_c™8:16 pm, 07 Jan 13

Thumper said :

Settle down people. As much the sensational news reports want you to believe that everything is pointing to a repeat of 2003, it isn’t.

Peter, Peter Lucas Smith, is that you?

In any case, the Fire Index for tomorrow will be 77, just inside the ‘Extreme’ range, but well short of the catastrophic category so the ACT is certainly a lot better off than a number of places.

#26
Gungahlin Al8:31 pm, 07 Jan 13

Thumper said :

Settle down people. As much the sensational news reports want you to believe that everything is pointing to a repeat of 2003, it isn’t.

Problem is Thumper, that these days if they don’t give serious and grave warnings, then when the spam does hit the fan, there are endless years of people searching for someone to blame.

#27
trevar8:35 pm, 07 Jan 13

switch said :

trevar said :

However good these folk might be at their jobs, I think they should get someone at least semi-literate to do their communications and describe fire danger accurately, instead of confusing us with this oxymoron.

You prefer the even sillier “Code Red” descriptor some states use? Whatever it means outside American hospital dramas. At least catastrophic gets people paying attention.

I’d prefer anything that actually makes sense, rather than an oxymoron. “Code Red” has more meaning than “catastrophic”, so yes that would be preferable, but better still would be “extreme”. Personally, I’m not paying attention to the fire danger, I’m too distracted by the misuse of a word…

#28
Pork Hunt8:45 pm, 07 Jan 13

I just received an SMS from http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au warning of a catastrophic fire danger tomorrow. I live in Qbn.
It’s nice that someone cares…:-)

#29
arescarti428:53 pm, 07 Jan 13

trevar said :

This ridiculous notion of having a fire danger called ‘catastrophic’ is absurd. The descriptor ‘catastrophic’ can’t be applied prior to an event occurring for very good reason. The word catastrophe means either unexpected and bad, or worse than expected. in Ancient Greek, where the word came from, it means the reversal of expectations.

So if they’re predicting something ‘catastrophic’, they’re either predicting the opposite of their predictions, or they’re predicting that it will be worse than they’re predicting, or they’re predicting that it won’t be as bad as they’re predicting. Whichever it is, their predictions are, by definition, inaccurate, because nothing that’s catastrophic can be predicted.

However good these folk might be at their jobs, I think they should get someone at least semi-literate to do their communications and describe fire danger accurately, instead of confusing us with this oxymoron.

Thankfully they didn’t pick you.

-Catastrophe: a violent usually destructive natural event – Merriam-Webster dictionary.
-Catastrophe: an event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a disaster – Oxford Dictionary

It’s a perfectly appropriate term.

#30
LSWCHP9:29 pm, 07 Jan 13

Gungahlin Al said :

Things that start fires that people might not think about:
* slashing/mowing dry grass and hitting a stone
* parking a petrol-fueled car over grass
* glass bottle in roadside litter
* welding, angle grinding.

It’s not all about cigarettes…

Yeah. I recall firing a couple of hundred rounds of tracer and ball from an M-60 one hot day back in the drought of the early 1980′s. After I finished shooting we all raced up to the other end of the range and spent half an hour with beaters, rakes and backpack sprays putting out numerous small fires. So if you’re thinking of opening up with tracer tomorrow, please reconsider. :-)

Anyway, my brother-in-law is a senior fulltime firefighter. They live on a bush block in rural NSW, and they’re not taking any chances. They’ve got everything precious packed and are ready to bail out at a couple of minutes notice. It might turn out to be nothing, or it could be huge.

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