Bushfire season is well underway in Australia, with South Australia bracing itself for a second onslaught later this week as temperatures are again set to rise.
Since the Blue Mountains bushfires of November last year, Australians have been well aware that this summer was going to prove challenging for those living in areas prone to fire. However, blazes in parts of Victoria this weekend which came incredibly close to suburban areas and the city of Melbourne itself, served to highlight that no one is safe when fires take hold.
But it’s firefighters in South Australia who are bracing themselves for the forecasted mercury rise on Wednesday this week. Around 350 firefighters are battling an out-of-control bushfire in the Adelaide Hills, which has already destroyed 12,000 hectares of land and has a perimeter of 230 kilometres. Twelve homes are already lost, a number expected to rise to about 30 once assessments can be carried out, and livelihoods have destroyed.
Deputy incident controller Ian Tanner said on Sunday he was hopeful that the blaze could be stopped from spreading, but people had to be aware there was still a danger. “Even with all of the resources we have, we only have to miss one stump, one spot, one tree with an ember coming out of it and on a windy day, on a northerly day, this fire will continue to burn in a southerly direction,” he said.
Roadblocks have been set up in the area, but some residents have been allowed to go back home. “There are parts of the firegrounds which are becoming safer than other parts of the fireground and consideration is being given to inviting people back to assist in the fire effort to protect their own homes when it’s safe to do so,” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said on Sunday. “But, once again, the overarching advice we have is listen to the advice of the authorities.”
Thankfully, while property damage has been severe, no lives have been lost, although 22 people have been injured, mainly due to smoke inhalation and minor burns.
Read more at ABC.net.au
For those affected by the bushfires in South Australia, two relief centres have been set up at Golden Grove Recreation Centre and Willaston Football Club. Here you will be able to access food, financial assistance and accommodation. Grants are available for essential items such as food and clothing and provide for up to $280 per adult and up to $140 per child, to a maximum of $700 per family. Staff at the centres can help you to access this grant, or you can call the SA Bushfire Recovery hotline on 1800 302 787. You can also call this number if you are able to provide assistance to those in need.
Bushfires can strike at any time during the warm spring and summer months in Australia and you don’t need to be living in a rural area to be at danger. While those living in a more rural setting may have fire plans to hand, urban dwellers think they don’t need one. However, over the weekend, the fires in suburban Victoria, some of which are believed to have been started deliberately, prove otherwise.
People are often caught in bushfires because they haven’t decided whether they will stay or go in the case of an emergency and simply leave the decision too late. If you don’t know how to check your fire danger, mark out your nearest escape route, or your local muster point, then take 30 minutes to read the documents for your state and be fire ready.
Are you fire ready? Do you fear bushfire season? Do you think the threat of bushfires increases each year? Is enough done to deter those who deliberately start fires?