Media release

On Notice: Australian firefighters brace for severe bushfire season

Australian firefighters are bracing for another severe bushfire season, as the world endures one of the worst El Nino weather events.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) officials told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra yesterday that the El Nino – which brings dry conditions – is likely to result in 2015 being the hottest ever recorded year for the globe. Severity of the event is likely to peak by Christmas with BOM officials warning Australians to brace themselves for a severe bushfire season.

This early advice was welcomed by the Australian Firefighters Climate Alliance with spokesman Dean McNulty saying firefighters across the country were ready to deal with extreme conditions.

“The last time Australia experienced an extreme weather event like this was 2011 and 2012 when we had to deal with the opposite effect as a result of a La Nina weather event. That resulted in widespread flooding and devastation across Queensland.

“It’s our job to be prepared for these sort of events, but the earlier the notice provided to the Australian public the better prepared we can all be.” 

On October 6, Victoria recorded its earliest ever day with a temperature of 35 degrees or more, with total fire bans declared across most of the state. Tasmania has had three total fire ban days so far this month, and in South Australia two total fire ban days have already been declared this month.

Mr McNulty said as climate change increased the severity and frequency of extreme weather events more research was needed into how emergency services could best adapt.

“All those working in emergency services need to remain vigilant as to what the latest science is telling us, and adjust our plans accordingly. We need to figure out what extra resources we need ahead of time, as well as when and how best to prepare communities.”

To speak to an Alliance firefighter in your region contact Dinah on 0425 791 394.