Prepare now to survive the bush fire season
You can’t live in Australia and not realise that fire presents itself as a very real threat to our environment.
Lucky for us The Rural Fire Service (RFS) do an amazing job of responding to bushfires, but of course it has to be a community effort to prevent or help fight a bushfire, so the more prepared you and your family are, the better.
The fire season in NSW has come early this year and sadly it’s predicted to be a bad one.
October saw a number of large fires along the NSW central coast and over 200 firefighters were needed to control them.
In preparation for our Native Wildlife campaign I attended a basic bushfire awareness training.
The course was run by long-time RFS volunteer Stuart Frost (aptly named!) who gave us a brilliant engaging introduction to bush fires.
I thought I’d share 10 facts from the course:
- Embers can travel up to 20km from the main fire to create ‘spot’ fires – which in then turn into large fires in themselves – so you really need to be aware of wind changes.
- One of the main hazards to wildlife and rescuers is falling trees - Gum trees are particularly flammable and can turn into exploding fire balls.
- Fire can actually travel underground – seriously! It travels through the roots of trees and can pop up suddenly in an unburned area.
- In 60 minutes, RFS helicopters can drop 9,000 litres of water, but they require 2,000 litres of fuel every hour to do so.
- A grass fire takes 15 seconds to pass, whereas a forest fire takes 15 minutes
- It’s not just injuries that make native wildlife vulnerable during a bushfire, but also the after effects - reduced food and shelter are life threatening.
- An injured native animal should be treated by a local carer or vet immediately. So if you find an injured animal please contact a professional for advice - don’t try to treat on your own – you may kill it with kindness.
- You can provide water for wildlife but remember to place a stick or rock in the container to prevent small animals from being trapped or drowning in deep containers
- The RFS is the largest volunteer organisation in the world – it has 70,000 volunteers who tirelessly help across the board – not just in fighting fires but providing essential support with ccommunications, catering, logistics, planning and aviation.
- Everyday Australian’s are the eyes and ears of the RFS. So, if you see a fire report it – don’t assume the RFS know about it – they would rather have 20 calls about one fire than none!
To find out more about volunteering for the RFS, visit their website here.