Dealing with Growing Number of Extreme Fire Days


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Dealing with Growing Number of Extreme Fire Days

  1. 1. Dealing with Growing Numbers of Extreme Fire Days Lew Short Group Manager Community Resilience NSW Rural Fire ServiceStatewide Mutual Risk Management Conference
  2. 2. What are your triggers?
  3. 3. Temperature is rising • Warming by up to 0.85º since the 1950s. • Acceleration since the 1970s.
  4. 4. Observed changes in NSW
  5. 5. Observed changes in NSW
  6. 6. Observed changes in 2009• Record-breaking heatwaves and high temperatures.• Warmest decade on record.• 2009 the 5th warmest year globally.• Another drier than average year in the southeast mainland.
  7. 7. Driving Climatic Conditions • Precipitated by 12 years drought. • Record low rainfall. • Record Low humidity. • Record temperatures of over 40 degrees. • Wind speeds in excess of 100km.
  8. 8. Victoria 7 Feb 2009 • 173 persons died. • 414 injuries. • 2030 houses destroyed. • A total of 3500 structures destroyed.
  9. 9. Challenges with Climate Change• Extension of the fire season.• Shorter window period for prescribed burns.• Increase in frequency, intensity and size of bush fires.• Suppression capability, technology, resources and funding availability.• Water availability for suppression.• Ignition management.
  10. 10. Window for prescribed burningSummer Autumn Winter Spring Summer Prescribed Prescribed Burning Burning Window WindowSummer Autumn Winter Spring Summer Prescribed Prescribed Burning Burning Window Window Shorter winters longer summers
  11. 11. Getting our house in order now…1. Bush Fire Risk Management Plans - Monitoring and Evaluation of Treatments. - Programming of Works. - Funding allocation. - Review and amend.2. Local Emergency Management Committees - Planning and identifying community infrastructure. - Develop networks with State Emergency Management Agencies.
  12. 12. Managing for the future …Reducing vulnerability• Develop policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Planning for Bushfire Protection & AS3959.• Obtain relevant approvals and advice from RFS and apply conditions accordingly.• Ensure compliance.• Maintain Bush Fire Prone Land Mapping and adapt with Climate Change.
  13. 13. Managing for the future …Increasing resilience• Community engagement to build the communities ability to respond before, during and after a fire event. - Weblinks between Council and RFS. - Educational material in rate notices / mail outs. - Invite RFS to speak at community meetings. - Utilise RFS literature in libraries and Council buildings. - Joint articles in local media.
  14. 14. Themes from the Vic Royal Commission• Primacy of life is absolute• Commission did not accept ongoing tolerance of any level of risk – this should never happen again• Responsibility and cost allocated to the community / government rather than the individual
  15. 15. Enhanced focus on leaving early… • Many emergency management researchers observe that the world has entered the era of ‘mega crisis’ or catastrophic emergencies’ whose force and magnitude defy even the best laid plans and the most robust response systems
  16. 16. What are your triggers?