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Australia

'Catastrophic' fire danger: what you need to know

A state of emergency and catastrophic fire danger has been declared across Sydney and its surrounds on Tuesday, but what does that actually mean for residents?

What are 'catastrophic' fire conditions?

The NSW Rural Fire Service advises that in catastrophic fire conditions:

What does it mean when a 'state of emergency' is declared?

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a state of emergency on Monday, granting emergency powers to the RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons. These powers include the ability to:

A wave of hot, dry and windy weather will elevate fire danger ratings across multiple states and territories during the next three days.Credit:Weatherzone

Know your risk

While extreme conditions are forecast across virtually all of eastern NSW, some homes are particularly at risk. According to the Rural Fire Service, these include:

Bush fire survival plan

Residents are advised to have a bush fire survival plan in place in the event of an emergency such as these catastrophic fire conditions.

This plan includes staying up to date with alerts in your local area, as well as having a discussion with the members of your household in advance about what to do in the event of a bushfire, including:

Neighbourhood safe places are a last resort, such as a sports ground or local building that has been specially identified for use during a fire. A list of NSPs in your area can be found on the RFS website.

Is it really necessary to leave my home on Tuesday?

The RFS advises that for catastrophic areas such as Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter residents should avoid bushfire prone areas.

They recommend relocating to a safer place such as a large town or city, shopping centres or facilities well away from bushland areas.

If you do live in a high risk area and own pets, you may also want to consider moving them to a safer location.

The RFS suggests consulting your local council, Department of Primary Industries or the RSPCA for information on animal refuges close to your area.

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