Australia may be one of the safest countries in the world in which to travel, but when nature threatens – knowledge is safety.
Following three years of wetter weather patterns (known as La Nina), the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has recently declared that the 2023/24 spring and summer seasons in Australia are predicted to be hot and dry.
What this all means is that since 2019 when the last major bushfires swept the country, a lot of vegetation has grown back. This can result in more ‘fuel’ for a fire to spread quicker and further. So, it’s best to be prepared this summer.
Know the Australia Fire Danger Ratings
As of September 2022, Australia has a simplified, national, action-oriented fire danger rating system – it uses four easy to recognise rating levels, each with a message to encourage you to take action to protect yourself and others in the face of bushfire risk.
When you fear or suspect a fire danger, you should monitor conditions and official sources for warnings. Fire danger information is usually broadcast on television, radio and printed in newspapers. Or you may see the current fire danger rating level on roadside signs, on social media, in apps or on websites.
If you are working on a farm or living in a hostel, and you are concerned about what you are seeing or hearing, ask the boss, supervisors or managers, or the hostel operator for advice what to do.
Those who live locally will know best, they are likely to know their region very well and may have experienced these situations before. Make sure they take your concerns seriously and insist they give you good information and clear advice.
Download the App
Each Australian state have their own emergency services and their own fire-fighting authority. Make sure you know the name of the one in the state you are visiting or residing, find their website and download their app.
As a result of the lessons learned from disasters in the past, particularly fire, these sources of information are now expressly designed to provide highly valuable information that is constantly updated.
Below is the list of websites for fire authorities in each state:
New South Wales: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
Australian Capital Territory: www.esa.act.gov.au
Northern Territory: www.pfes.nt.gov.au
South Australia: www.cfs.sa.org.au
Western Australia: www.emergency.wa.gov.au
It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the Australia Fire Danger Rating System website – www.afdrs.com.au
Remember, Australia is a big country, so if there is danger is some parts of the country, there will be many other areas that are safe to travel to and work in.
If you know where to find good information, you can continue your Australian adventure in safety.
You could also contact the Harvest Trail Information Service on free call 1800 062 332.
Operators are available weekdays from 8am to 8pm to provide information on horticulture vacancies but also on what areas to avoid because of fire risk.