Australia bushfire outlook report released for 2020/21 season

GETTING READY: Fire authorities will use the report for planning purposes during the winter, such as fuel reduction burns in high risk areas. Photo: Kim Chappell
GETTING READY: Fire authorities will use the report for planning purposes during the winter, such as fuel reduction burns in high risk areas. Photo: Kim Chappell

SOME parts of the country should brace for "above normal" fire conditions over the next three months, the latest seasonal bushfire outlook report revealed.

Although much of the nation is still shivering through winter, last year's bushfire season started in August for some parts of the country.

The quarterly report, which is particularly relevant to parts of northern Australia that will soon to enter their fire season, is used by fire authorities to make strategic decisions around resource planning and fire management.

The south coast of NSW expects higher than normal fire potential for this time of year due to long-term dry conditions in areas that did not burn in the 2019/20 fire season.

In Queensland, normal fire potential is expected, however there is a risk of grass fires due to good grass growth in some areas.

In Western Australia, rainfall from tropical cyclones has also led to above normal fire conditions in parts of the Kimberley.

The fire season started early in Northern Territory, but normal fire potential is expected.

All other areas can expect normal fire potential from July to September.

The report stresses that areas designated as normal or below normal fire potential may still experience bushfire - normal or below normal risk does not mean there is no risk.

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said all Australians had to prepare for another tough bushfire season.

"According to the report, the first half of 2020 has seen more rainfall in some parts of the country, with large parts of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania experiencing above normal rainfall," Mr Littleproud said.

"While this rain is very welcome it will lead to strong grass growth that, once the grass dries, could pose a significant fire risk."

Mr Littleproud said it was important for households to start thinking about their fire plan now and what they have to do if they need to evacuate.

"With memories of last summer's horror bushfire season still fresh in our minds, all Australians, especially in the high-risk areas outlined in the report, should be planning to protect their family and property," Mr Littleproud said.

"Talk to your neighbours, ask them about their evacuation plan and let them know about your plan.

"If we work together and look out for each other, we'll get through the bushfire season."