Regions impacted by this year’s floods are among the communities at highest risk of fire, with the latest seasonal outlook indicating large parts of inland New South Wales and southern Queensland are facing above normal fire potential this season.
The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Summer 2022, released today by AFAC, the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services, predicts parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Queensland and a large section of inland New South Wales will all face above normal fire potential this summer.
The outlook shows the vast majority of Australia is facing normal, or above normal, fire potential.
Across the country only the ACT and parts of Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales are expected to experience below normal fire potential.
Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said it was a timely reminder that despite months of widespread rain and flooding, communities still need to be fire-ready.
“Despite three La Niña seasons and all the rain, we can’t be complacent. Even as we’re managing the floods, we need to begin preparing for the fire season,” Minister Watt said.
“The National Emergency Management Agency has been working closely with state and territory services to plan for the coming fire season, assessing capability and working to streamline response efforts.
“While we continue to hope for the best, we must plan for the worst. It is concerning to see that some of the regions impacted by repeated floods are now facing a higher fire risk. This is because the rain has triggered grass growth, which can dry out and become flammable as the hotter months drag on.
“It’s very understandable that people are fatigued, but the Government will continue to stand alongside communities, and I want to thank all of the emergency services for their incredible efforts.”
In the past six months, the Government has made big changes to the way Australia prepares for, and recover from disasters. This includes:
- Unifying the two arms of federal emergency management to create the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to be more efficient in disaster management.
- Legislating the Disaster Ready Fund to invest up to $200 million a year in mitigation projects like fire breaks, evacuation centres and flood levees.
- Fast-tracking recovery payments to help individuals, local councils, small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations get back on their feet faster after a disaster.
- Getting money out the door for resilience and betterment projects in disaster-prone regions.
- Investing in Disaster Relief Australia to provide recovery and clean up support after disasters.
- Taking action on future building developments on floodplains, by working with the state and territory governments through the National Cabinet process.
- Galvanising voluntary home buybacks in regions repeatedly impacted by floods.
- Investing in flood research through the CSIRO to better understand the risks and action needed in areas like the NSW Northern Rivers.
This release was originally published on the Ministers for the Department of Home Affairs' website.